VA hospitals curb MRSA infections

April 27, 2011

An aggressive quality improvement program has helped more than 150 Veterans Affairs hospitals reduce the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by 62 percent in intensive care units and 45 percent in other units, the online New York Times reports.

Washington - An aggressive quality improvement program has helped more than 150 Veterans Affairs hospitals reduce the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by 62 percent in intensive care units and 45 percent in other units, the online New York Times reports.

Citing a report on the agency’s program in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Times reports that the VA used a “bundle” of measures, such as screening all patients by taking nasal swabs and isolating those who tested positive for MRSA, then urging healthcare workers to take special precautions to prevent spreading germs from those patients.

The VA sought to promote a culture in which all personnel felt responsible for helping to control MRSA.

However, the Times also reports that the same issue of the journal ran study findings suggesting that swabs and special protections such as hand hygiene and clean gloves and gowns were ineffective in reducing the transmission of MRSA or another virulent bacterium in 10 intensive care units at major medical centers. A journal editorial found no clear reason for the dramatically different results.