Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 29374222
Sci Rep 2018 01;8(1):1686
Understanding transmission routes of hospital-acquired infections (HAI) is key to improve their control. In this context, describing and analyzing dynamic inter-individual contact patterns in hospitals is essential. In this study, we used wearable sensors to detect Close Proximity Interactions (CPIs) among patients and hospital staff in a 200-bed long-term care facility over 4 months. First, the dynamic CPI data was described in terms of contact frequency and duration per individual status or activity and per ward. Second, we investigated the individual factors associated with high contact frequency or duration using generalized linear mixed-effect models to account for inter-ward heterogeneity. Hospital porters and physicians had the highest daily number of distinct contacts, making them more likely to disseminate HAI among individuals. Conversely, contact duration was highest between patients, with potential implications in terms of HAI acquisition risk. Contact patterns differed among hospital wards, reflecting varying care patterns depending on reason for hospitalization, with more frequent contacts in neurologic wards and fewer, longer contacts in geriatric wards. This study is the first to report proximity-sensing data informing on inter-individual contacts in long-term care settings. Our results should help better understand HAI spread, parameterize future mathematical models, and propose efficient control strategies.