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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

MERS may emerge, but KPC is already here and most everywhere else -- new infection prevention toolkit is available

We temporarily interrupt all the dire warnings about a possible MERS pandemic to focus on a killer microbial threat that is already here: carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). In the United States, the vast majority of these multidrug-resistant, plasmid-passing, gram negatives are Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC).

The only drug that works against some of these infections is colistin, which is to other antibiotics what draino is to a fine cabernet. But I digress -- the best thing is to prevent KPC in the first place, and the good folks at the AHRQ have put together a toolkit to help infection preventionists do just that.

“We expect that leaders in infectious disease and infection control, as well as those concerned with patient safety and performance improvement, may be users of this toolkit,” the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality stated. “For those familiar with leading change processes and implementing process changes, the first few sections may not be necessary; it is possible to move right to “Section 3, Putting Your Intervention Into Practice” if you and your organization are at that point.

Here’s a breakdown of the sections:

Section 1, Assessing Your Readiness for Change, may be useful if you are concerned about your organization's ability to adopt new guidelines and/or change processes for any type of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) initiative.

Section 2, Starting Your Project, will be useful in any situation where a task force or team is needed in order to carry out the project, and provides crucial guidance about integrating your team's efforts with existing infection control routines and practices.

Next, Section 3, Putting Your Intervention Into Practice, may be useful in thinking through how to roll out the changes in policy and/or process.

Section 4, Implementing Best Practices, provides many tools and strategies that can be used in educating staff about KPC and the need for greater vigilance.

Section 5, Measuring the Impact of your Intervention, and Section 6, Implementing and Sustaining Your Intervention, provide tools and information for understanding how well the new processes are working and how to sustain the gains.