Studies show that 33% of people
carry staph in their nose, usually without any illness, while two out
of 100 people carry MRSA, suggested the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
‘The Department of Veterans Affairs' Veterans Health Administration's campaign to limit healthcare facility-associated infections of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus makes significant progress.’
The Department of Veterans Affairs' Veterans Health Administration's
campaign to limit healthcare facility-associated infections (HAIs) of
methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
(MRSA) continues to make significant progress, suggested a study published in the January issue of the American Journal of Infection Control
, the official journal of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).
The new study, by Martin E. Evans and colleagues from the
Veterans Health Administration, found that between October 2007 and
September 2015 monthly HAI rates dropped 87% in intensive care
units (ICUs), 80.1% in non-ICUs, and 80.9% in spinal cord
injury units (SCIUs). In long-term care facilities (LTCFs), rates fell
49.4% during the period of July 2009 to September 2015. During
September 2015, only two MRSA HAIs were reported in ICUs, 20 in non-ICUs
(with three in SCIUs), and 31 in LTCFs nationwide.
"Understanding how and why rates of MRSA have diminished in recent
years is essential for the continued progress of effective prevention
programs," said lead study author Martin E. Evans. "As we seek to
protect patients from MRSA and other resistant organisms, our study
supports the need for strong infection prevention programs at every
Prior to 2007, MRSA HAI rates were unacceptably high in VA
facilities leading the VA to implement the MRSA Prevention Initiative
nationwide in October 2007. Results from a previous study published by
the researchers demonstrated a significant decline in MRSA transmissions
and MRSA HAIs between October 2007 and June 2012 in acute care medical
centers, between October 2007 and June 2011 in SCIUs, and between July
2009 and December 2012 in LTCFs. The current study updates and supports
these continuing trends in MRSA transmission and HAIs through September
2015, thus comprising an eight-year study period.
The VA program included having a dedicated MRSA prevention
coordinator at each facility to oversee a bundle of interventions which
included: universal active surveillance (screening) on admission,
unit-to-unit transfer, and discharge; contact precautions for those
colonized or infected with MRSA; adherence to hand hygiene; and
institutional culture change where infection prevention became
The authors speculated that the focused attention on MRSA infections
helped motivate healthcare workers to practice better infection
prevention and control measures. "We speculate that active surveillance
was the primary driver of the downward trends seen in the VA, because
MRSA HAI rates had not changed prior to October 2007 when the initiative
was fully implemented, even though formal recommendations for hand
hygiene and device-related infection control bundles had been in place
for several years."
The study used monthly reports generated by nationally distributed
software, which extracts MRSA nares screening, clinical culture and
patient movement data, to analyze MRSA and HAI data from the VA between
October 2007 and September 2015.