Response to infection control challenges in the deployed setting: Operations Iraqi and enduring freedom

Duane R. Hospenthal, Helen K. Crouch, Judith F. English, Fluryanne Leach, Jane Pool, Nicholas G. Conger, Timothy J. Whitman, Glenn W. Wortmann, Clinton K. Murray, Paul R. Cordts, W. Bryan Gamble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: Infections caused by multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs), including Acinetobacter, have complicated the care of military personnel injured in Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. Cumulative data suggest that nosocomial transmission of MDROs in deployed medical treatment facilities (MTFs) has contributed to these infections. A 2008 review of deployed MTFs identified multiple factors impeding the performance of infection prevention and control (IC) practices. In response, efforts to emphasize IC basics, improve expertise, and better track MDRO colonization were pursued. Methods: Efforts to increase awareness and enhance IC in deployed MTFs were focused on educating leaders and deploying personnel, producing deployed IC resources, and standardizing level IV and V admission screening for MDRO colonization. A repeat mission in 2009 reviewed interval progress. Results: Increased awareness and the need for emphasis on basic IC practice, including hand hygiene, use of transmission-based (isolation) precautions, and cohorting of patients, were imparted to leaders and deploying personnel through briefings, presentations, and an All Army Activities message. Enhancement of IC expertise was implemented through increased standardization of IC practice, establishment of a predeployment IC short course, an IC teleconsultation service, and dedicated Internet resources. Standardization of admission colonization screening of personnel evacuated from the combat theater was established to better define and respond to the MDRO problem. A repeat review of the deployed MTFs found overall improvement in IC practice, including clear command emphasis in the Iraqi theater of operations. Conclusions: Maintaining a strong IC effort in the deployed setting, even in a stabilized operational environment, is difficult. Use of innovative strategies to enhance expertise and practice were implemented to reduce MDRO infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S94-S101
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Combat
  • Infection
  • Infection prevention and control
  • Military
  • Trauma


Dive into the research topics of 'Response to infection control challenges in the deployed setting: Operations Iraqi and enduring freedom'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this