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Environmental Cleaning Intervention Reduces Transmission of Multidrug-Resistant Organisms in ICUs

SAN DIEGO, March 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A rigorous environmental cleaning intervention can reduce the transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other multidrug-resistant organisms in hospital intensive care units (ICUs), according to a new study presented today at the annual meeting of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). Researchers found that following an enhanced cleaning protocol reduced the spread of MRSA to patients exposed to rooms in which the prior occupant had been colonized or infected.

The multi-modal cleaning intervention consists of three parts: a change from use of a pour bottle to bucket immersion for applying disinfectant to cleaning cloths; an educational campaign involving the environmental services staff at the hospital; and feedback method using removal of intentionally-applied marks visible only under UV light.

"Although the risk of acquiring MRSA and VRE is already low, this study suggests that there are additional preventative measures that hospitals can take to reduce the risk of transmission from one patient to another," said Rupak Datta, MPH, an MD/PhD candidate at the University of California at Irvine.

The retrospective study of more than 13,000 hospital stays in 10 ICUs at a large, tertiary care academic medical center in Boston, measured the risk of MRSA and vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) acquisition before (Sept. 2003 - April 2005) and during the cleaning intervention (Sept. 2006 - April 2008). Routine admission and weekly screenings for MRSA and VRE were conducted during both periods providing a systematic method to identify new cases of MRSA and VRE. During the pre-intervention period, 3.9% of the 1,454 patients exposed to a prior occupant with MRSA acquired the pathogen compared to just 1.5% of the 1,443 patients exposed during the intervention. Of the 1,291 patients exposed to VRE prior to the intervention, 4.5% acquired VRE compared to 3.5% of 1,446 patients during intervention.

The research was funded by the CDC Prevention Epicenters program and a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

SHEA, comprised of more than 1,200 physicians, infection control practitioners, and other healthcare professionals, is dedicated to maintaining the utmost quality of patient care and healthcare worker safety in all healthcare settings. Visit SHEA's website,

SOURCE Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America
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