MRSA Declines Are Sustained In Veterans Hospitals Nationwide

Washington, DC, October 29, 2013

Five years after implementing a national initiative to reduce methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) rates in Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, MRSA cases have continued to decline, according to a study in the November issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

The MRSA Prevention Initiative, implemented in 2007, resulted in significant decreases in both the transmission (colonization with the organism) of MRSA (17 percent for intensive care units [ICUs] and 21 percent for non-ICUs) and healthcare-associated infection (HAI) rates within the hospitals (62 percent for ICUs, 45 percent for non-ICUs). In the two-year period following the first wave of the initiative (data previously published), both MRSA transmissions and HAIs continued to decrease in non-ICU settings (declining an additional 13.7 percent and 44.8 percent, respectively), while holding steady in ICUs.

The MRSA Prevention Initiative utilizes a bundled approach that includes screening every patient for MRSA, use of gowns and gloves when caring for patients colonized or infected with MRSA, hand hygiene, and an institutional culture change focusing on individual responsibility for infection control. It also created the new position of MRSA Prevention Coordinator at each medical center.

"The analysis…shows that over the ensuing 24 months, MRSA transmission and MRSA HAI rates continued to decrease nationwide," state the authors. "Detailed analysis showed that there were statistically significant declines in MRSA transmissions and MRSA HAIs in non-ICUs but not in the ICUs. The absence of statistically significant trends in the ICUs may be because MRSA transmission and MRSA HAI rates were low."

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that is resistant to many antibiotics and an important cause of illness and sometimes death. In medical facilities, MRSA causes life-threatening bloodstream infections, pneumonia and surgical site infections. In the community, most MRSA infections are skin infections.



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Notes for editors
"Veterans Affairs methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus prevention initiative associated with a sustained reduction in transmissions and health care-associated infections" by Martin E. Evans, Stephen M. Kralovic, Loretta A. Simbartl, Ron W. Freyberg, D. Scott Obrosky, Gary A. Roselle and Rajiv Jain appears in the American Journal of Infection Control, Volume 41, Issue 11 (November 2013).

Authors
Martin E. Evans, MD (Corresponding author)
VHA MRSA/MDRO Program Office, The National Infectious Diseases Service, Patient Care Services, VA Central Office and the Lexington VA Medical Center
Lexington, KY

Stephen M. Kralovic, MD, MPH
National Infectious Diseases Service, Patient Care Services, VA Central Office and Cincinnati VA Medical Center
Cincinnati, OH

Loretta A. Simbartl, MS
National Infectious Diseases Service, Patient Care Services, VA Central Office and Cincinnati VA Medical Center
Cincinnati, OH

Ron W. Freyberg, MS
VA Office of Informatics and Analytics, Analytics and Business Intelligence
Cincinnati, OH

D. Scott Obrosky, MS
Center for Health Equality Research and Promotion, VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
Pittsburgh, PA

Gary A. Roselle, MD
National Infectious Diseases Service, Patient Care Services, VA Central Office and Cincinnati VA Medical Center
Cincinnati, OH

Rajiv Jain, MD
Patient Care Services, VA Central Office
Washington, DC

About AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control
AJIC: American Journal of Infection Control (www.ajicjournal.org) covers key topics and issues in infection control and epidemiology. Infection preventionists, including physicians, nurses, and epidemiologists, rely on AJIC for peer-reviewed articles covering clinical topics as well as original research. As the official publication of APIC, AJICis the foremost resource on infection control, epidemiology, infectious diseases, quality management, occupational health, and disease prevention. AJIC also publishes infection control guidelines from APIC and the CDC. Published by Elsevier, AJIC is included in MEDLINE and CINAHL.

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Media contact
Liz Garman
+1 202 454 2604
egarman@apic.org