Hospitals screen incoming patients for MRSA

Hospitals are continuing their war against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), battling a worrisome new trend in which patients actually enter the hospital with a "community strain" version of the bug rather than picking it up as an inpatient. The efforts supplement newly-aggressive programs fighting in-house MRSA infections. A growing number of hospitals are making big-bucks investments in new "search and destroy" programs hoping to nip MRSA in the bud. Hospitals like the Chicago area's Evanston Northwestern and the VA hospitals are spending $25,000 to $35,000 for testing facilities and $25 per test to detect MRSA cases. Evanston Northwestern is spending $600,000 to $1 million per year to test roughly 40,000 patients, but sees it as a fair trade-off given that MRSA can add $30,000 to treatment costs. This year Evanston cut down MRSA infection rates from an average of 100+ infections to about 50. At the VA, its 139 hospitals have seen similar results, cutting MRSA rates by 50 percent to 60 percent. Yet another example comes from the University of Maryland, which has cut MRSA rates by 30 percent by testing all ICU patients and all patients who have recently been an inpatient elsewhere.

To learn more about hospitals' search-and-destroy MRSA programs:
- read this USA Today article