You are receiving this newsletter because you signed up for the VICNISS e-Bulletin Newsletter.

view this email in your browserView it in your browser.


October 2017

e-Bulletin Newsletter



Reminders - Data:

Quarter Data Due Available

Quarter 1

3rd November 2017

via VICNISS User Portal

Hand Hygiene

Audit 3 – 31st October 2017


Collection period 3 April to 4 August. Submission by 18 August 2017


If you have a twitter account please follow us @VICNISS_CC

Surveillance Update

The MRSA, VRE and SAB data forms have had some minor amendments specific to the Definition 4 field to capture details of where patients were admitted from; ie Home or Aged Care Home, and whether the ACH was public or private.

Small Hospital Surveillance Update


In previous years, the Large Hospital group (50 to 99 beds) have been required to complete the Surgical Antibiotic Prophylaxis (SAP) surveillance module annually. For 2017/2018, it is now optional to complete this module. It is hoped that this will ease the workload for ICPs in these hospitals.

If you chose not to complete the module, you will need to amend your surveillance plan.

National Hand Hygiene Initiative Update


National Hand Hygiene Initiative (NHHI) Audit 3 due 

NHHI Audit 3 is due for submission by 31/10/2017.   Please remember to submit your audit when complete. Click here for instructions on how to do this. Audits can be submitted as soon as they are complete there is no need to wait until the due date. Remember to validate the data including ensuring there are sufficient moments and departments and that it appears plausible i.e. no AC or D performing Moments 2’s etc.

National Hand Hygiene Benchmark

Please note that from Audit One 2017 onwards the National Hand Hygiene Benchmark has been set to 80%. This benchmark relates to all five moments of hand hygiene and all healthcare worker types. For further information please click here.

Change to Department Selection Methodology for Hand Hygiene Compliance Auditing

To standardise data collection across all hospitals Hand Hygiene Australia (HHA) in association with the NHHI Advisory Committee have changed their department selection methodology. There is now one single option recommending all eligible departments be audited a minimum of once per year (ideally each National Audit Period) and at least 100-200 moments be collected per high risk area each year. Please click here to see the updated recommendations.

Please note that this is a recommendation, and that HHA ask organisations to start transitioning towards using this option from Audit 1 2018.

Gold Standard Auditor Training in 2018

The first Gold Standard Auditor (GSA) Workshop for 2018 is on 21st & 22nd February at Alfred Health, Commercial Rd. Prahran.

If you would like to attend this workshop please go to:, and select the VIC – Public Organisations, Alfred Health workshop from the drop down list at question 7 (Choose the workshop you would like to register for) and complete all the required details.

If you would like to attend a workshop but these dates or venue are not suitable for you please select VIC – Workshop Waitlist from the dropdown list and you will be notified when the next workshop is scheduled.

Aged Care Surveillance


From October 2017, Victorian public aged care homes, as for small public acute care hospitals are required to participate in the VICNISS MRSA, VRE and CDI surveillance modules. A new ‘support document’ for the MRSA and VRE modules (eg. MRSA Example Scenarios) are now available on the VICNISS website. This document outlines instructions for reporting different scenarios, including transfers from/to aged care homes.

The MRSA and VRE modules are the same as those for the acute hospitals, however, the CDI module has some differences. The protocol, form and instructions and hard copy data form are available on the VICNISS website: Modules / Clostridium difficile Infection (CDI) – Aged Care Homes. 

The webform is currently being developed. VICNISS will inform ICPs when the webform has been uploaded onto the website.

Health Services Performance Monitoring Framework 2017/18


The Victorian Health Services Performance Monitoring Framework 2017/18 is now available from the DHHS website. There are some changes to performance targets, notably healthcare associated SAB rate is now expected to be < 1.0 per 10,000 OBDs.

Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE)


Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) Transmission Risk Area (TRA)

Reminder to check the latest TRA list of classified wards within Victorian hospitals for any new local transmission of CPE which are identified in these updates:

Changes to electronic data management for large and small hospitals – confirm numbers of events; data quality checks; replaces type 2 monthly summary, etc


As you now know VICNISS changed to electronic submission of the annual surveillance plan, which commenced July 2017. The Surveillance Plan now allows you to check your data submissions and it replaces the Monthly Summary Form previously used for small hospital groups.

There is a recording of the webinar that demonstrates the process of checking and confirming the data submitted by your facility. The recording can be accessed by the VICNISS website: go into any module, scroll down to Education Resources and click onto the recording link.

Ring VICNISS if you are having any difficulties with this new process.

Having trouble using VICNISS Web forms?


If the VICNISS electronic data entry forms (web form) are not displaying correctly please check the internet browser you are using because although Internet Explorer works well with web forms, it must be at least version 9.0. If your version is lower than 9.0 you will need to organise with your IT department to update to version 9.0, or install another browser such as Google Chrome, or Firefox.

If you have any ongoing issues please contact VICNISS Coordinating Centre to discuss. 

2017 HCW Influenza Vaccination Module


The 2017 HCW Influenza Vaccination report is now available on the VICNISS.



Webinar and PowerPoint Presentation Recordings now available

Recordings of recent webinars and power point presentations are now available on the VICNISS website. These can be found under Education Resources for each Module.

Attendance Certificates for 2017 Education are now available

Attendance certificates for 2017 education sessions are now available upon request. Please email Chris on with the details of sessions you participated in and she will email a certificate confirming the duration (hours) of the session.

Infection Control Literature Review – October 2017


Contamination of mobile phones with Staphylococcus aureus: potential transmission to hands of nursing staff

Mobile phones are increasingly used by hospital clinical staff for communication in delivering medical care. Previous studies have demonstrated that these devices may become colonised, but cross-contamination between hands of healthcare workers (HCWs) and devices has not been well-established. Kanayama AK et al. (Am J Infect Control 2017; 45:929-931) investigated the genetic relatedness of bacteria found on mobile phones and bacteria residing on hands of HCWs.

Between August and September 2010, 221 mobile phones and palms and fingers of nursing staff in 23 wards of a Japanese university hospital were sampled for bacterial contamination. After plating, cultures were examined for the presence of Staphylococcus aureus. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was used to evaluate relatedness of S. aureus strains.

Of the 221 mobile phones studied, 16 (7.2%) were colonised with S. aureus. Of these, 5 isolates (31.3% of total) were methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). S. aureus was isolated from 55 of the 221 nurses’ palms or fingers (24.9%), of which 13 were MRSA. Both the mobile phone and palms or fingers of their user were concurrently positive for S. aureus in 11 instances. In 10 of these positive HCW-phone pairs, PFGE patterns were identical.

Findings demonstrate the presence of genetically identical isolates from mobile phones and hands of nurses, consistent with cross-contamination. It is possible that contact with contaminated devices after handwashing could lead to re-contamination of palms or fingers, and that this could increase risk of healthcare-associated infections. Hand hygiene should therefore be repeated after use of mobile phones and prior to patient contact.

Australian cluster of Burkholderia cenocepacia bloodstream infections attributed to contaminated gel used for ultrasound-guided central line insertion

Outbreaks of Burkholderia cenocepacia infection have previously been reported in association with contamination of medical equipment, medicines or the environment. Shaban RZ et al. (Am J Infect Control 2017; 45:954-958) report an outbreak of B. cenocepacia healthcare-associated infections in two Australian jurisdictions during 2017.

The initial isolate was identified in blood cultures of a patient from the intensive care unit at a Gold Coast hospital. Three additional patient isolates were identified at this facility. Interrogation of the Queensland statewide pathology reporting system yielded three further isolates in two other centres. Following communication via professional networks across Australia, 2 further isolates were identified at a Canberra hospital. Microbiologic investigation of sterile items suspected of contamination was subsequently performed

In total, 9 B. cenocepacia blood culture isolates were identified. A further 3 isolates from sterile collections of other bodily fluids were identified. Testing of 6 sachets of ultrasound gel from sterile ultrasound probe cover kits yielded heavy growth of B. cenosepacia. All isolates were confirmed by reference laboratories in Queensland or Australian Capital Territory. recA sequences and MLST typing confirmed relatedness of clinical isolates and isolates recovered from ultrasound gel. Clinical review of affected patients confirmed that they had recently had central lines placed using ultrasound guidance. Following TGA notification, product recall was performed.

Findings confirm the causative relationship between contaminated ultrasound gel and bloodstream infections in patients having ultrasound-guided central line insertion. A collaborative approach to identification of all cases was employed, underscoring the need for rapid notification and information dissemination systems at a national level.

Contact us

VICNISS Healthcare Associated Infection Surveillance Coordinating Centre
792 Elizabeth Street Melbourne VIC 3000 | Phone: +61 3 9342 9333 | Fax: +61 3 9342 9355
Email: VICNISS @


You're receiving this newsletter because you signed up for the VICNISS e-Bulletin Newsletter.If you no longer wish to receive our emails, you may