ICT: How important do you think infection preventionists are to the workings of infection control in hospitals?
Kavanagh: Infection preventionists are of utmost importance. Just in the last year we have seen a widespread acknowledgement that carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) has become endemic, and the fungi Candida aurishas emerged as a dangerous pathogen. Both of these pathogens can become totally resistant to antimicrobial agents; being a fungus, growth of C auriscan even be promoted by antibiotics. It will take complex- and situation-specific interventions to stop many of these pathogens. For example, Candida auris may not be susceptible to quaternary ammonia based antiseptics and it’s very hard to contain its spread. Well-trained environmental cleaning services are crucial. Alcohol is also not an effective hand hygiene agent for Clostridioides difficile, the flu virus, and the norovirus. Thus, hospital-wide training and monitoring of pathogens by infection preventionists is of utmost importance.