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IPAC Eastern Ontario

IPAC Eastern Ontario (IPAC EO)


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Dear IPAC EO Chapter Members,

 The IPAC EO Executive would like to congratulate Meghan Engbretson on winning the Sani Marc Environmental Research and Innovative Stewardship Scholarship

Winning initiative presented at the 2021 IPAC Canada conference:

Abstract Title: Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of Canine Scent Detection for Clostridium difficile in an Acute Care Hospital

Authors: Meghan Engbretson*, Prameet Sheth, Sandra Carlton, Gerald Evans, Heather Candon; Kingston Health Sciences Centre

Intro: This proof-of-concept project evaluates canine scent detection ability for Clostridium difficile (C.diff) bacteria and spores and its utility in a hospital environment. In Canada, the only program for canine scent detection of C.diff exists in Vancouver and has limited reach to Eastern Canada. The Vancouver program reports a sensitivity and specificity of greater than 90% for detection of C.diff in the hospital environment. This pilot program at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) would be the first canine scent detection program in Ontario.

Methods: Phase one, proof-of-concept, is currently in progress. The canine (“Percy”) was selected and obtained from an Ontario breeder. The training protocol was adapted from the National Detector Dog Manual (United States Department of Agriculture) and implemented by the handler and associate instructor.

Results: Two levels of basic obedience training, as well as an introductory scent detection class, is complete with promising canine commitment. “Percy” can reliably detect the training scents of birch and evergreen oil in closed containers in a blinded location. The next phase is to introduce the canine to the scent of C.diff using a non-infectious training scent developed by the KHSC Microbiology Lab.

Impact: Incorporating a canine scent detection program into Ontario hospitals will allow for a more holistic and proactive approach to the prevention and management of hospital-acquired infections. By detecting residual C.diff in patient rooms and unexpected areas of the hospital environment, it will be possible to evaluate the current environmental services regime to optimize for further reduction in biological burden. This program has potential to increase staff engagement by providing feedback and education in real-time.

 Congratulations Meghan!