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Evanston Northwestern Healthcare Researchers Explain Effects of Large-Scale, Universal MRSA Surveillance Program That Supports Expanded Intervention
Date:3/17/2008

eria.

Using a new molecular screening test that was approved for patient use shortly

before the program began facilitated the ENH initiative. This test shortens the testing time for finding MRSA to under two hours and permits the detection of MRSA carriers the day of admission so that they could be appropriately cared for to reduce spread to others. Dr. Peterson stated that, "Reducing spread of MRSA to new patients within the healthcare system is critical to eliminating this infection and the ENH program encompassing over 70,000 patients shows that such a patient-oriented program can be successful."

ENH researchers defined MRSA infection as a combination of all MRSA blood-stream, respiratory, urinary tract, and surgical site infections that occurred during admission and 30 days after discharge. The study concluded that universal screening was associated with a large reduction in MRSA disease during those time frames.

The study examined the effect of two expanded MRSA surveillance interventions. It compared MRSA rates during and after hospital admission in three consecutive periods: baseline (12 months), MRSA surveillance for all admissions to the intensive care unit (12 months), and universal MRSA surveillance for all hospital admissions (21 months). Only universal surveillance was successful in significantly reducing healthcare-associated MRSA infections.

The screening program involved performing nasal swabs on all inpatients for colonization during the hospital admission process. Electronic medical record and same-day molecular diagnostic testing facilitated quick assessment for MRSA colonization and allowed hospital staff to promptly identify, isolate and treat MRSA-positive patients.

Peterson says, "Our program has successfully prevented nasal colonization of patients coming to ENH for their care. We want people to come here for their healthcare and not go home with something unexpected that will later cause an
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SOURCE Evanston Northwestern Healthcare
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