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Droplet precautions on-site (DroPS) during the influenza season 2018/2019: a possible alternative to single room isolation for respiratory viral infections

  • Birrer, Michèle1
  • Perrig, Martin2
  • Hobi, Fabienne1
  • Gfeller, Christina1
  • Atkinson, Andrew1
  • Egger, Martin3
  • Bartholdi, Corinne2
  • Aujesky, Drahomir2
  • Marschall, Jonas1, 4
  • Sommerstein, Rami1, 5
  • 1 Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, Frohburgstrasse 3, Luzern, 6002, Switzerland , Luzern (Switzerland)
  • 2 Bern University Hospital, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland , Bern (Switzerland)
  • 3 Regional Hospital Emmental, Burgdorf, Switzerland , Burgdorf (Switzerland)
  • 4 Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA , St. Louis (United States)
  • 5 Clinic St. Anna, University of Lucerne, Bern, Switzerland , Bern (Switzerland)
Published Article
Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control
BioMed Central
Publication Date
Jan 09, 2022
DOI: 10.1186/s13756-021-01038-y
Springer Nature
  • Research


BackgroundThe guideline-driven and widely implemented single room isolation strategy for respiratory viral infections (RVI) such as influenza or respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) can lead to a shortage of available hospital beds. We discuss our experience with the introduction of droplet precautions on-site (DroPS) as a possible alternative.MethodsDuring the 2018/19 influenza season we introduced DroPS on several wards of a single tertiary care center, while other wards maintained the traditional single room isolation strategy. On a daily basis, we evaluated patients for the development of respiratory symptoms and screened those with a clinical diagnosis of hospital-acquired respiratory viral infection (HARVI) for influenza/RSV by molecular rapid test. If negative, it was followed by a multiplex respiratory virus PCR. We report the concept of DroPS, the feasibility of the strategy and the rate of microbiologically confirmed HARVI with influenza or RSV infection on the DroPS wards compared to wards using the traditional single room isolation strategy.ResultsWe evaluated all hospitalised patients at risk for a HARVI, 741 (72%) on the DroPS wards and 293 (28%) on the regular wards. The hospital-acquired infection rate with influenza or RSV was 2/741 (0.3%; 1× influenza A, 1× RSV) on the DroPS wards and 2/293 (0.7%; 2× influenza A) on the regular wards.ConclusionsDroplet precautions on-site (DroPS) may be a simple and potentially resource-saving alternative to the standard single room isolation strategy for respiratory viral infections. Further studies in a larger clinical context are needed to document its safety.

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