Hospitals fight MRSA infections

Just yesterday we reported on a study that found as many as 5 percent of all hospital and nursing home patients are infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) at any given time--significantly more widespread than previously thought.

Now the Wall Street Journal is outlining some of the steps hospitals are taking to cut down on the rate of infection.

For instance, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center took the costly route of screening every patient who comes into the hospital for MRSA, helping the hospital to slash the occurrence of MRSA infections within 6 months. Though it's not cheap, another hospital found that screening pays for itself in the long run by avoiding more treatment.

But constant screening isn't the only option. Hand washing is a simple, effective method of preventing the spread of MRSA, but outside of emergency rooms, many healthcare workers fail to wash their hands on a regular basis. Computer systems that track and monitor patients also can be used to detect a pattern of hard-to-treat infections. These methods can stop outbreaks before they start, and help workers quickly identify a rash of MRSA infections.

For more:
- read the Wall Street Journal article (sub. req.)