Tracking how microbes move from the host to the environment proved to be a cornerstone in medical research. In an effort to track the movement of microbes in a communal setting, scientists from the University of Chicago spent a year taking samples from the newly opened Center for Care and Discovery.
Monitoring Bacterial Movement
The study commenced two months prior to the opening of the 10-story Center for Care and Discovery in the university. A newly opened healthcare facility made it possible to track microbe activity since researchers can start with a pristine environment.
The research continued for 10 months after the hospital opened. To gather samples, researchers had to swab nurses, doctors, members of the hospital staff, and patients. They also took a swab of various surfaces in the hospital.
Nurses, in particular, provided great assistance during the research. Researchers also took samples from the surfaces in nurse stations.
Based on their findings, bedrails have the greatest concentration of bacteria. Unless the beds were disinfected properly, it’s possible for bacteria resembling the same makeup from the previous occupant to remain.
There were 252 patients who volunteered to take part in the study, and 20 of them were considered to have hospital-acquired infections. However, the swabs from the room of those 20 patients did not support these findings. This indicates the infection was not acquired from the hospital environment.
Another key conclusion researchers had was that the patient’s microbiome dominated the room after 24 hours. During the patient’s first day in a hospital room, bacteria from the environment had a tendency to move to the patients. However, by the second day, there was a reverse movement from the patient’s body to the environment.
From this observation, scientists also found out that bacteria from patients who stayed longer had a tendency to be more drug-resistant. Staphylococcus epidermidis and Staphylococcus aureus, two types of bacteria observed during the research, developed genes which make it more resistant to antibiotics and gives it greater ability to infect that host.
Head researcher Jack Gilbert clarifies there should be further studies to confirm these findings, but the data from the study could be a starting ground.
Some findings surprised researchers such as the increase in the bacteria shared between the hospital staff during hot and humid summer months. The impact of antibiotic treatment before or during a patient’s stay was minimal. The same findings existed for chemotherapy, admission through emergency rooms, and surgery.
These findings can bring revolutionary changes in the field of healthcare. This also points out the need to supply patients with antibiotics and probiotics before they get admitted to hospitals. At the same time, it also helps hospital administrators and healthcare professionals prevent the spread of diseases in the hospital.
This Hospital Microbiome Project is one of the largest microbiome studies according to the head researcher Gilbert. The researchers also developed a map containing all the key findings they had during the study. This map details the microbial interaction and exchange in a hospital setting.
Findings of the research are crucial for nurses who are exposed to the various kinds of bacteria. This study could be the cornerstone for new procedures to reduce contracting hospital-acquired infection. You can learn more about taking care of patients and maintaining a healthier environment by pursuing higher education online through Maryville.