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Universal Surveillance for Resistant Staph Is Successful

Rates of hospital-associated MRSA infections drop by 70 percent when all in-patients screened

TUESDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) -- Screening all hospital admissions for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization was associated with a large decrease in MRSA infections in a three-hospital health network, according to an article published in the March 18 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Ari Robicsek, M.D., of Evanston Northwestern Healthcare in Evanston, Ill., and colleagues compared rates of MRSA clinical disease during and 30 days after hospital admission during three periods: a 12-month baseline period, a 12-month period in which all admissions to the intensive care unit (ICU) were tested for MRSA, and a 21-month period of universal MRSA surveillance for all hospital admissions. Polymerase chain reaction-based testing of nasal samples was used to detect MRSA colonization.

From baseline through completion of the ICU screening phase, the rate of hospital-associated MRSA infections decreased by 36 percent, and from baseline through completion of the universal screening intervention, the rate decreased by 70 percent, the researchers report.

The author of an associated editorial points to the need for further research to identify the components of this intervention that were most successful. "We need better evidence to point us toward what works best in the complex universe of MRSA screening -- and we need robust, health care epidemiology departments to implement, monitor and evaluate screening at a local level."

Several of the study authors report receiving consulting fees, honoraria, and grants from various pharmaceutical companies.

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