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How infectious diseases spread in a hospital environment

Photo I Bird sensor I-Bird experimentation - © Inria / Photo Kaksonen

A joint study of the interactions between all the people in a hospital, the i-Bird (Individual-based Investigation of Resistance Dissemination) experiment has helped identify the factors involved in the spread and transmission of bacteria that cause nosocomial infections. The results confirm that new technologies may be useful in analysing epidemics.

In 2009, 590 patients and healthcare professionals at the Hôpital Maritime in Berck-sur-Mer took part in the i-Bird experiment, which lasted six months and which aimed to determine the pathways by which certain bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics are spread. Particular attention was paid to monitoring Staphylococcus aureus, an especially virulent infectious agent.

The results have just been published in PLOS Computational Biology after six years of processing of the vertiginous amount of collected data.

«To achieve this experiment, the participants were equipped with wireless sensors, the size of a watch, which, at 30 second intervals, record, anonymously, all the people who come within close proximity to them. This made it possible to map out all their interactions with other people inside the Berck-sur-Mer hospital," explained Didier Guillemot (Inserm, Institut Pasteur, UVSQ, AP-HP), who conceived the project with Pierre-Yves Boëlle and Éric Fleury, Professor at ENS Lyon, INRIA Chair and head of the DANTE team.

The i-Bird research project, led by teams at Inserm, the Institut Pasteur, ENS Lyon and Inria in conjunction with the AP-HP at the Hôpital Maritime in Berck-sur-Mer, France.

Keywords: Health Sensors Hospital Berck Nosocomial infections Hospital