The study builds upon a body of research conducted by Datta and his co-authors. In a 2006 study, they found that patients admitted to an ICU room whose prior occupant had been infected with MRSA or VRE had as much as a 40 percent increased risk of acquiring either pathogen, suggesting environmental contamination could play a significant role in their transmission. In a subsequent study, the authors showed that a multi-modal cleaning intervention could reduce environmental cultures for MRSA and VRE. The current study now suggests that this same intervention reduces acquisition of these pathogens, particularly MRSA, in subsequent room occupants.
Despite the overall reduction in MRSA and VRE acquisition, the cleaning intervention appears to be more effective against MRSA compared to VRE. The difference could be due to a generally higher rate of VRE room contamination and Datta suggests it is a question for future research.
"The results suggest that a multi-modal cleaning intervention can reduce MRSA and, to a lesser extent, VRE transmission in high-risk patient areas including the ICU," said Datta.
Datta and his co-authors point out that a relatively small percentage of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are transmitted due to inadequate room cleaning (constituting about five percent of all new cases of either pathogen.) Still, there are measures hospitals can take to put patients' minds at ease.
"Even though we know the risk is relatively low, it is unsettling for patients admitted to hospitals to know that the health condition of the prior room occupant could impact their risk for acquiring MRSA or another antibiotic-resistant infection." Datta added.
|Contact: Sharon Reis|
Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America