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An interactive data visualisation application to investigate nosocomial transmission of infections

Smith, C; Allen, D; Nawaz, S; Kozlakidis, Z; Nastouli, E; Hayward, A; Ward, K; (2019) An interactive data visualisation application to investigate nosocomial transmission of infections. Wellcome Open Research , 4 , Article 100. 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15240.1. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Healthcare-associated infections represent a major threat to patient, staff and visitor safety. Identification of episodes that are likely to have resulted from nosocomial transmission has important implications for infection control. Routinely collected data on ward admissions and sample dates, combined with pathogen genomic information could provide useful insights. We describe a novel, open-source, application for visualising these data, and demonstrate its utility for investigating nosocomial transmission using a case study of a large outbreak of norovirus infection. // Methods: We developed the application using Shiny, a web application framework for R. For the norovirus case study, cases were defined as patients who had a faecal sample collected at the hospital in a winter season that tested positive for norovirus. Patient demographics and ward admission dates were extracted from hospital systems. Detected norovirus strains were genotyped and further characterised through sequencing of the hypervariable P2 domain. The most commonly detected sub-strain was visualised using the interactive application. // Results: There were 156 norovirus-positive specimens collected from 107 patients. The most commonly detected sub-strain affected 30 patients in five wards. We used the interactive application to produce three visualisations: a bar chart, a timeline, and a schematic ward plan highlighting plausible transmission links. Visualisations showed credible links between cases on the elderly care ward. // Conclusions: Use of the interactive application provided insights into transmission in this large nosocomial outbreak of norovirus, highlighting where infection control practices worked well or could be improved. This is a flexible tool that could be used for investigation of any infection in any hospital by interactively changing parameters. Challenges include integration with hospital systems for extracting data. Prospective use of this application could inform better infection control in real time.

Type: Article
Title: An interactive data visualisation application to investigate nosocomial transmission of infections
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15240.1
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.15240.1
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright: © 2019 Smith CM et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Norovirus, infection control, cross infection, software, outbreak, virus genomics
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Infection and Immunity
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10079262
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