Researchers are recommending hand hygiene and adherence to universal standard precautions as the best ways to curb Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, infections in hospital emergency departments.
Researchers stress hand hygiene in MRSA fight
In a study published online in the Jan. 14 issue of the Annals of Emergency Medicine, researchers analyzed the prevalence of MRSA colonization in an urban emergency department during a 12-month period. Using swabs from multiple sites on patients’ bodies, they determined that roughly 5% of patients were colonized with MRSA. Patients were especially at risk if they were HIV-positive, diabetic or played contact sports.
Hand hygiene is a simple way to reduce the spread of MRSA from one patient to another in a crowded, high-acuity environment, the authors said.
“MRSA is transmitted by touch, making clean hands essential to stopping the spread of this potentially deadly organism,” said Dr. Kalpana Gupta, chief of infectious diseases for the Boston Veterans Affairs Health Care System, and one of the study’s authors. “It would be very costly to make testing of all emergency patients for MRSA standard practice, but very inexpensive to institute enhanced handwashing precautions.”
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.