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In Hospitals, Daily Antiseptic Bath May Prevent Dangerous Infections
Date:2/6/2013

of bloodstream infections and MRSA and VRE acquisition -- which can mean a patient is either a carrier or infected with the bacteria -- didn't surprise Wong, whose previous research yielded similar results.

"At least based on preliminary studies we've done, we knew we'd have some benefit but we wanted to make sure we could generalize," he said. Chlorhexidine wipes "are clearly going to cost much less than the cost of antibiotics or the cost of health care."

Dr. Philip Tierno, director of clinical microbiology and immunology at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said his institution has been using chlorhexidine for years on patients about to have surgery.

"It's very good because it has residual effectiveness on the skin for a day or two," he said. "So when the surgeon cuts through flesh, it's less likely to impregnate the skin with organisms."

"If you get a very serious infection ... it may lead to significant problems," Tierno added. "This has a very good benefit and it's worthwhile to pursue."

More information

There's more on healthcare-associated infections at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Edward Wong, M.D., chief, infectious disease, Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Richmond, Va.; Philip Tierno, M.D., Ph.D., director, clinical microbiology and immunology, NYU Langone Medical Center, New York City; Feb. 7, 2013 New England Journal of Medicine


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