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Health Care Workers Affected By Staph Infections

They can be vectors and victims of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection

WEDNESDAY, April 16 (HealthDay News) -- While only 5 percent of health care workers become colonized with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection, they are more frequently vectors of the disease, according to a review published in the May issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Werner C. Albrich, M.D., of the University Hospital Bern in Bern, Switzerland, and Stephan Harbarth, M.D., of Geneva University Hospitals in Geneva, Switzerland, conducted a meta-analysis of existing literature from 1980 to 2006 to assess the role of health care workers in the transmission of MRSA.

Data from 127 investigations revealed that 4.6 percent of 33,318 screened health care workers were carriers of MRSA and 5.1 percent had clinical infections. Those most likely to become infected had chronic skin disease, poor hygiene practices and were more likely to have worked in a country where MRSA is endemic. Of the 68 studies that undertook genotyping, 63 (93 percent) showed that MRSA was transmitted from health care workers to patients.

"Although no single approach to dealing with MRSA in health care workers will work universally, aggressive screening and eradication policies seem justified in outbreak investigations or when MRSA has not reached endemic levels," the authors conclude.

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