There are increasing numbers of reports of micro-organisms that can cause human infections being found in wastewater environments, like sinks, drains and toilets. These could potentially be transmitted to unwell people in hospitals. However, whether this really occurs is unclear. We have sequenced all the genetic variation of micro-organisms found in sinks in some hospital wards over 3 months, together with micro-organisms of similar species from patients. We would now like to understand whether patients with more similar micro-organisms to those found in sinks/drains have spent more time in wards where these bugs are found – that is, to try to work out whether the patients are transferring the bugs to the sinks, or the sinks could be transferring bugs to the patients. We will also look at times that patients with bloodstream infections spent on these wards.
Chief Investigator: Dr Bede Constantinides
Research location: Oxford University
Approval date: 29 Mar 2019