Intravenous news: Infection Control Today report “A sweeping study on the issue of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals shows that using antimicrobial soap and ointment on all intensive-care patients significantly decreases bloodstream infection. The results, which are being presented for the first time at IDWeek 2012, may suggest a major change in healthcare practice that could help save lives.
The study involved nearly 75,000 patients in 43 mostly community hospitals in 16 states and involved each hospital’s own quality improvement team. Working with these teams enabled important questions to be answered during routine medical care. As such, the study’s findings about “universal decolonization” for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) may have widespread applicability to hospitals across the country.
Of the strategies tested, the one that proved to be most effective, was arguably the simplest and most straightforward: Rather than screening intensive care unit (ICU) patients for the bacteria and then focusing on those identified as carriers, all patients were bathed daily with chlorhexidine antiseptic soap for the duration of their ICU stay, and all received mupirocin antibiotic ointment applied in the nose for five days.
Investigators found that the number of patients harboring MRSAâ€”not sick because of it, but at risk for later illness and for spreading it to othersâ€”dropped by more than a third. Bloodstream infections caused by MRSA and other pathogens decreased by nearly half.”