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Conference Rundown: ECMMID 2015

By June 10, 2015 No Comments

A run-down of the recent APSIC 2015, IFSQ 2015 and ECMMID 2015 conferences by Michelle Allen; PhD Candidate with the Centre of Research Excellence in Reducing Healthcare Associated Infections, and an AusHSI grant recipient.

I hope you have been following my last two posts, outlining the wonderful international conferences that I have been lucky enough to present at and attend in Mar-Apr 2015. My current research (PhD work) is in improving hospital cleaning to reduce HAIs, using methods from implementation science to guide infection prevention interventions.

Third installment – European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 25-29 April 2015 (Copenhagen, Denmark). This conference is in its 25th year and brings together infectious disease specialists, clinical microbiologists, and all those interested in infection prevention across Europe. With around 10,000 participants over 4 days, with 10+ presentation halls, exhibitors hall, poster area,  8 blocks of screens for ePosters, as well as several networking places such as the social media lounge, this conference was enormous.  There was so much to cover, so here are a few of the stand-outs.

Infection Prevention:

  • Eli Perencevich – The year in Infection Control: who highlighted the possible protective effect of MSSA, effect of animal infections on human health, hand hygiene compliance related to proximity of other HCW, and how we measure cost-effectiveness of infection prevention interventions.
  • Eva Medina – Intracellular survival of S. aureus: This was a particularly interesting look at how this organism is able to “hide” from antibiotics within the cell, use phagocytic cells like a Trojan horse, and their ability to upregulate proteins.
  • Jenny Knudsen – Clostridium difficile infections:  demonstrated the significance of asymptomatic C.diff colonisation on C.diff infections.  (Risk from colonised patients is rarely articulated)
  • Role of food producing and companion animals in the spread of antimicrobial resistance:
    • Catia Filipa Marquez Sararia linked bacterial linages of humans with their pets including some resistance.
    • Sam Abraham noted that although Australia’s resistant isolates in animals are different from those overseas and we have banned Fluoroquinilone use in animals, quarantine efforts are unlikely to be enough.
    • Stephen Borgjessen linked importation of chicken from certain countries to resistance in humans.

Bundles and behavior change:

  • Infection Control Bundles:
    • Carolyn Trant reviewed the implementation of the national CLABSI bundle (UK) and demonstrated that context had a large effect on bundle success.
    • Loreen Herwaldt (USA) trialled a SSI bundle

      in 20 hospitals, and was able to identify clear implementation barriers and facilitators. She also demonstrated that not only was the bundle effective, but those hospitals where compliance was higher, there was significant improvement over those whose compliance was partial or low (intervention compliance is rarely measured so this was exciting to see).

    • Sarah Krein – CAUTI bundle discussed that there needs to be not only technical changes, but socio-adaptive/ behavioural changes as well, and by finding out what drives different staff groups, you can adjust your messaging to suit.
  • Behavioural Science applications in IC and antimicrobial stewardship – Alison Holmes: she suggested we should be more multi-disciplinary and involve behavioural and social scientists, and look more at context and culture. She also suggested the use of games and mobile technology as a good avenue to get patients involved in their own care.

Technology and future treatments:

  • Paul Cotter – Human Associated Microbiome in Health and Disease: This was a fascinating look at the possibilities surrounding how the microbiome can affect health and be used to combat illness – great study with the Irish Rugby team.
  • John Rossen – Eyes for the Invisible: discussed the future uses of full genome sequencing, cross country data, Nano-technology, laboratories on a chip, and patient centred care.
  • ePoster session – Environment and Healthcare Associated Infections.
    • H. Humphries:  Cold plasma decontamination
    • C. Garzoni: HyperDRYMist technology
  • George Viola – Bioreabsorbable extended release antimicrobial wrap, was outstanding.  This wrap (if it passes through animal and human trials) could be revolutionary in the prevention of infections due to surgical implants.


Clockwise (from top left): Cleaning Bundle tweet, Entrance hall, networking at the Opera House

Key learnings from across the three conferences:

Whilst each conference was different with a different emphasis, here are five things that we in healthcare could adopt:

  • Healthcare systems need to think about radical re-design that is patient focused and constantly innovating.
  • Context and culture have a significant effect on the success of interventions. Link behavioural science to clinical science for better results.
  • Failure is the friend of innovation if you accept it early and learn from it
  • Stay curious and embrace science – we are constantly uncovering new  possibilities whether it be via technology, the microbiome or human interactions.
  • We should collaborate more, share learnings and inspire change.