7 strategies for preventing MRSA

Several large infection-control and healthcare organizations have joined to develop strategies hospitals can use to reduce the risk of spreading methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The strategies were published in the July issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

The strategies were developed by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the Infectious Diseases Society of America, the American Hospital Association, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, and The Joint Commission.

"Many hospitals have made inroads in preventing healthcare-associated MRSA through essential prevention strategies, but some hospitals need additional intervention," David Calfee, M.D., MS, co-lead author of the guidelines, said in an announcement. "This guidance provides a roadmap for prioritizing and implementing strategies."

The strategies are:

  • Conduct an MRSA risk assessment focusing on the opportunity for transmission and the ability of the facility to contain MRSA.

  • Implement an MRSA monitoring program and track rates focusing on identifying patients with a history of MRSA and a way to track cases acquired in the hospital.

  • Ensure compliance on hand-hygiene recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization.

  • Ensure compliance with contact precautions for MRSA-colonized and infected patients.

  • Ensure proper cleaning and disinfection of equipment and environment.

  • Educate healthcare personnel, patients and families.

  • Implement an alert system to notify patients with MRSA so measures can quickly begin to control the infection.

Reducing hospital-acquired infections, including MRSA, is a top priority for healthcare providers. A study published last year in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology found that using copper surfaces on bed rails, tables, IV poles and other objects could reduce infections by as much as 60 percent. Copper renders the electricity inside microbes inactive and reduces colonization of MRSA and other bacteria, the study noted.

Another study published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology suggested a new anti-bacterial dress code for doctors: avoiding long sleeves, watches, ties and jewelry; wearing sturdy, closed-toe shoes; and washing white coats at least once a week in hot water and bleach.

To learn more:
-here's the study abstract
-read the announcement