Universal surveillance of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is effective in reducing infection rates, according to researchers at Evanston (Ill.) Northwestern Healthcare.
Their study, published in the March 18 Annals of Internal Medicine, was conducted at Evanstons three hospitals over two years. The team was able to reduce MRSA infection rates by 70% through the use of a rapid molecular diagnostic test that detects carriers on the day of admission, and an infection intervention program that included isolating patients identified as carriers and providing dedicated equipment for staff to use in those rooms, according to the report.
The researchers said in the report the hospitals achieved 90% adherencethe percentage of admissions on which rapid testing was conductedto the surveillance program. The researchers identified MRSA infections as all bloodstream, respiratory, urinary tract and surgical-site infections that occurred more than 48 hours after admission through day 30 after discharge. Universal surveillance did not affect the rate of infection 31 to 180 days after discharge, according to the study.
Overall, the findings suggest widening infection surveillance beyond high-risk groups captures more instances of MRSA. During the first year of universal surveillance, our three hospitals had 11,454 MRSA isolation-days. With no surveillance, clinical cultures alone would have captured 2,036 of those days, the researchers wrote in the report. -- by Jean DerGurahian