Pharmacy OneSource Blog

IDWeek 2019 and the Infection Prevention Footprint

IDWeek 2019 took place from October 2nd – 6th in Washington, DC and each day was filled with captivating symposiums, interactive sessions, lectures, meet-the-professor sessions, oral abstracts, posters, exhibitors, and other affiliated events. Infectious disease priorities across the global spectrum were addressed with many areas undeniably related to or impacted by infection prevention and control.  

IDWeek is the joint annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), the HIV Medical Association (HIVMA), and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS). IDWeek provides a forum for health professionals from a variety of backgrounds to come together and learn from one another all with aims to advance science and drive global improvements in infectious disease patient care and public health.  

Here’s our list of noteworthy takeaways for Infection Preventionists


Vaccination continued to be underlined as a highly effective strategy to prevent illness, reduce antibiotic resistance, and save lives. The increasing trend of vaccine hesitancy was also addressed and the need for consistently strong recommendations from healthcare providers to patients was stressed as a major driver for vaccine uptake.

Healthcare Epidemiology:  

Innovative methods to evaluate organism transmission were shared, such as leveraging user and time-stamped electronic health record data to generate healthcare worker-mediated contact networks within the healthcare environment. Healthcare environment best practices to mitigate infection risk were reiterated – from air handling, water systems, physical layout/design, to antimicrobial surfaces.

Debates over best practices concerning isolation precautions and personal protective equipment usage were raised. For example, should IP efforts focus on MRSA or all S. aureus? Should contact precautions be targeted to clinical patient characteristics (e.g., devices, skin breakdown, etc.) instead of just the identification of a pathogen? When should precautions be discontinued? Answers to these questions vary across the literature and the need for further study and additional evidence was highlighted.

Antimicrobial Resistance:  

Resistance trends continue to be an urgent and emerging topic. The reminder that “resistance has no borders” was made evident by various global updates. Mechanisms of resistance were discussed including chromosomal mutations, plasmid-mediated resistance genes, and chromosomal resistance genes.

Puzzling case studies of multidrug-resistant (MDR) or extensively drug-resistant (XDR) gram-negatives other than Enterobacteriaceae including P. aeruginosaS. maltophiliaA. baumannii, and N. gonorrhoeae were shared. Global fungal resistance trendsspecifically C. auris were summarized and continues to serve as a major risk for infections in healthcare settings.

Additionally, enteric pathogens such as XDR Salmonella Typhi, MDR Shigella sonnei, MDR Salmonella anatum, along with mobile resistance genes like mcr-1 and blaDHA-1 took spotlight with discussions surrounding drug-resistance in the food chain leading to outbreaks, severe disease, hospitalizations, and even healthcare-associated infections. 

Lastly, various surveillance systems used to track national and global resistance trends were reiterated. 

Antimicrobial Stewardship:  

Innovative behavioral approaches to improve prescribing behaviors were shared. “Handshake Stewardship” was introduced as a rounding-based effort to provide stewardship feedback to clinical teams face-to-face. The “IKEA-effect” was also described as a “labor leading to love” method in which the collaborative and invested work to improve stewardship efforts by stakeholders leads to improved prescribing among those stakeholders. 

Rapid Diagnostics 

This field continues to quickly evolve, and numerous exhibitors were in attendance to share new and innovative approaches to improve diagnostic methodologyIn general, clinical teams appear to agree on the need to have access to diagnostic tests that are accurate, simpler, faster (even same-shift), able to process a variety of samples (if not all), affordable, automated, and current (despite changing pathogens, breakpoints, and drugs).  

Additionally, there was a strong focus on using rapid phenotypical testing in addition to genotypic testing for drug susceptibilities to enable the rapid de-escalation or escalation of antimicrobial therapies.  

Additional infectious disease clinical management, research, and public health topics were also on center stage. In summary, the role of infection prevention and control was repeatedly emphasized in various ways throughout the conference. Overall, IDWeek 2019 provided an exceptional opportunity for health professionals from all around the globe to connect, learn, and advance 

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Written for clinicians

by clinicians.