American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
January 2008 Clinical Laboratory News: MRSA: Hospitals Can Do More


January 2008: Volume 34, Number 1

MRSA: Hospitals Can Do More

Although several recent journal articles have reported rapidly rising rates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, a poll of infection prevention professionals shows more could be done to prevent the spread of the dangerous bacterium in hospitals.

Of the 2,100 Association for Infection Control Professionals (APIC) members who responded to a June 2007 poll, 59% reported adopting APIC-recommended measures to eliminate transmission, but half of them also said their institutions could increase compliance with hand-hygiene protocols, better barrier precautions, and other MRSA control measures. Among the 41% who said their healthcare facility had not taken any new steps toward better MRSA control, half cited lack of support from hospital leadership and lack of resources as the reason.



The poll was conducted to determine if hospitals had adopted additional measures to prevent MRSA since a more scientific November-December 2006 survey, detailed in the December 2007 issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, reported that 46 out of every 1,000 inpatients were either colonized or infected by MRSA. “That figure is a minimum estimate,” wrote the researchers from APIC, Jason and Jarvis Associates (Hilton Head, S.C.), and Sharp Memorial Hospital, the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, and the University of California San Diego in San Diego, Calif. The team’s figure is based on responses from respondents reporting on 7,994 MRSA colonized and infected patients at 1,237 hospitals, and is 8.5 fold higher than previous estimates that used different methodology. Data suggest that about 70% of isolates were more consistent with healthcare-associated MRSA, rather than that acquired in the community (Am J Infect Control 2007; 35: 631–637).

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