- One of the biggest risks when going to a hospital is getting an infection and one of the most dangerous infections is from the MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) bacteria.
Hospitals are stepping up their efforts to prevent these dangerous bacteria from spreading by being more diligent in their cleanliness practices. This is apparent with the efforts to disinfect patients and all areas of the hospital, especially the intensive care units.
While not all hospitals are on board with the same prevention standards, more hospitals are adopting the universal program because of the success seen with the universal strategies.
The New England Journal of Medicine released a report from a study done involving 43 hospitals and about 75,000 patients that showed a reduction of infections in intensive care patients in hospitals that were using universal cleanliness programs.
Dr. Susan S. Huang, an associate professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, and the head author of the study, said the reduction in the number of hospital infections shown in the study should encourage other hospitals to follow the program.
Hospital infections have been an ongoing problem for many years and have become riskier to patients with the new bacteria showing up in hospitals, like the MRSA bacteria. There are about two million cases of hospital infections every year with about 100,000 deaths each year.
When you know in advance that you are going to have to go a hospital, it is important that you check on the number of infections that occur in that hospital and make sure the hospital has implemented measures to control the number of infections in patients.
The problem with the MRSA bacteria is it is so virulent and hard to treat. Many antibiotics do not work on the MRSA bacteria and that is why it is critical to keep the bacteria out of the hospitals.
One of the more common practices in hospitals now is the screen the incoming patients for the MRSA bacteria by swabbing their nostrils, where MRSA bacteria are commonly found. Patients who have the MRSA bacteria are put into isolation away from other patients.
There are two main strategies that have been used to treat MRSA outbreaks, with the first strategy isolating patients with the MRSA bacteria while the second strategy involves strong protective measures on all patients, like disinfecting all patients.
Dr. Huang said the second stragegy is the easiest one to implement in hospitals and should be used in all hospitals.