VA program slashes MRSA infection rates

It's a stunning piece of news, one which, if its conclusion holds true, could have a significant impact on the battle to control life-threatening hospital-acquired infections. A new study released this week suggests that hospitals can control the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) if they institute a program to immediately identify and quarantine MRSA patients. Under a pilot program at the Pittsburgh Veterans Affairs Healthcare System in 2001, infectious disease doctors have been able to slash MRSA rates more than 70 percent at the Pittsburgh VA surgical care, according to infectious diseases director Dr. Robert Muder. The program has been so successful that VA officials plan to roll it out to its approximately 150 hospitals across the U.S.

The newly-finalized guidelines include requiring patients getting nose swabs to screen for MRSA on admission and discharge; isolating patients who test positive; treating them using gowns and gloves, and disinfecting every type of equipment used in MRSA victims' care after each and every use.

To learn more about MRSA controls:
- read this Associated Press article