Department of Infection Prevention

About the Department

In the News:

NEW Urinary Catheter Management Guidelines: 

In order to reduce infections due to urinary catheters in adult inpatients, a new policy that emphasizes evidence-based care and maintenance of these devices  will be effective April 1.  As part of this policy, all adult patients admitted to VUH will be placed on the nurse-directed Foley discontinuation protocol unless specifically excluded by a provider order.  Pilot testing of this policy has been met with very positive reviews from both nursing personal and physician and NP providers.

 To help with this policy change, all providers should

  1. Be aware of the indications for urinary catheters
  2. Be aware that patients with a Foley catheter must have an order for that catheter
  3. Perform an assessment daily regarding the necessity for the urinary catheter and if not needed, have it removed
  4. Understand and support the catheter discontinuation protocol

Click for more information:

VUMC Urinary Catheter Guidelines

Nurse-Directed Urinary Catheter Discontinuation Protocol



 Information for Providers

Recently, international public health authorities have reported infections due to two types of novel respiratory viruses in patients outside of the United States.   The first virus is a novel coronavirus that was first identified in humans in April 2012.  Since then, 17 people from the Middle East and the United Kingdom have been infected with this new virus, 11 of whom died.  The second virus is a novel avian influenza virus of the H7N9 subtype.  The first human cases of H7N9 influenza infection were reported earlier this month, and as of April 16, 2013, all 63 cases (including 11deaths) of H7N9 influenza infection have occurred in China.

To date, limited human-to-human transmission of the novel coronavirus has been reported in a single family cluster, while no human-to-human transmission of H7N9 influenza has been identified.  At present, there have been no reports of either virus causing infection in patients in the United States.

We remind all clinicians to be vigilant to ensure early identification of potential cases of these infections presenting at VUMC.  This includes the following:

  1. Prompt screening of all patients with fever and respiratory symptoms for the following(screening tools available here:  human coronavirus, H7N9 influenza):   a) Recent travel to countries with reported cases of either infection OR b)  Close contact with any ill person who had recent travel to such countries within 10 days prior to symptom onset
  2. Placement of a mask on any patient meeting the screening criteria above
  3. Placement of the patient into ENHANCED isolation precautions (patient placed into negative pressure room; providers wear N-95 fit-tested respirator, gloves, gown, and eye protection prior to room entry)
  4. Promptly contact the Department of Infection Prevention regarding any patients that meet the screening criteria (pager 835-1205)

We are hopeful that sustained human-to-human transmission of these viruses will not occur, but we appreciate your help in remaining prepared for this possibility and alerting the Department of Infection Prevention of any suspect cases.

Interim Guidance for Infection Control Within Healthcare Settings When Caring for Patients with Confirmed, Probable, or Cases Under Investigation of Avian Influenza A(H7N9) Virus Infection

Fungal Aspergillus Outbreak Related to Spinal Injection Procedures:

****For up-to-date information  on the outbreak from the CDC website-- click
HERE ****

 Updated: Multistate Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Investigation: Clinician Guidance – November 21 (CDC)

Interim Treatment Guidance for Central Nervous System and Parameningeal Infections Associated with Injection of Contaminated Steroid Products (11/8/12)

Frequently Asked Questions for Clinicians: Multistate Outbreak of Fungal Meningitis and Other Infections (11/8/12)

 CDC Guidance on Management of Asymptomatic Patients (10/24/12)

UPDATED Interim Treatment Options – Outbreak of Fungal Meningitis (10/16/12)

Interim Treatment Options: Septic Arthritis Related to Contaminated Product (10/16/12)

Diagnostic Testing for Septic Arthritis Related to Contaminated Product (10/16/12)

Instructions for Clinical Teams Regarding Diagnostic Testing – Outbreak of Unknown Meningitis (10/4/12)

Specimen Submission Guidelines for:
 For Referral to CDC (10/19/12)

Pathologic Evaluation of CNS Infections (10/4/12)
Unexplained Illness due to Possibly Infectious Etiology (10/4/12)

Tennessee Health Alert Network:  Adverse Events Following Epidural Steroid Injections of Methylprednisolone from NECC - Including Guidance to Providers on Evaluaiton of Patients (10/3/2012)

VUMC EPI Alert on Fungal Meningitis (10/2/2012)


 Department of Infection Prevention in Vanderbilt Medicine 

 The Department of Infection Prevention was highlighted in a series of articles in the Fall 2006 issue of Vanderbilt Medicine magazine.  Click on the links below for more:



MDR-Acinetobacter Infections

Hand Hygiene Project

TN Infection Reporting Law

CVC Infection Prevention

Intraop Antibiotic Reminder 

William Schaffner Profile




VUMC Pandemic Influenza Preparedness


The Department of Emergency Preparedness in conjunction with the Department of Infection Prevention and the Occupation Health Clinic has developed an online education lecture that provides information on personal and institutional preparedness for pandemic influenza.  The lecture may be accessed on the Department of Emergency Preparedness website (link). 


The Vanderbilt University Medical Center Department of Infection Prevention is primarily responsible for conducting surveillance of hospital-acquired infections and investigating and controlling outbreaks or infection clusters among patients and health care personnel. Infection Prevention personnel also evaluate new and existing products, examine the latest innovations in personal protective equipment and safe needle devices, and conduct detailed special projects that investigate infection control issues at VUMC and the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. The Infection Preventionists have educational programs to assure quality of patient care as well as developing infection surveillance policies and procedures.

The department calculates rates of healthcare-associated infections, collates antibiotic susceptibility data, performs analysis of aggregated infection data and provides comparative data to national benchmarks over time. These data are provided to various boards and committees on a routine basis. Working with various physicians and departments, the Department of Infection Prevention also provides data for research and publications. We work closely with the Occupational Health Clinic and Vanderbilt Environmental Health and Safety, the Center for Clinical Improvement, and Risk Management, as well as state and local health departments.

Please use the menu at left to learn more about our department's functions and activities.



Influenza Vax Education



NEW for the 2013-14 influenza season:

VUMC policy now requires annual influenza vaccination or exemption. Exemptions may be for religious or personal/philosophical beliefs or for medical contraindications. Those who wish to be exempted from receiving the flu vaccine must complete an exemption form, available on the OHC website beginning in September.   


Do you never get an annual influenza vaccination?

Do you come to work with a "cold?"

If you answered "yes," you could be spreading infleunza to

your patients and colleagues (even when you don't feel sick!)


It's influenza season again -- find out how you can protect yourself,

your colleagues, and your patients from influenza.



This page was last updated April 11, 2014 and is maintained by