Recent efforts to combat infections have focused on pharmaceutical interventions. However, the global spread of antimicrobial resistance calls for the reappraisal of personal and institutional hygiene. Hygiene embodies behavioural and procedural rules that prevent bacterial transmission. Consequently, the chance of spreading bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is significantly reduced. Hygiene is part of the primacy and totality of patient care, ensuring that no harm is done. Any prevention and control strategy must be underpinned by changes in attitude, embraced by all. The major components of preventing and controlling MRSA include hand and environmental hygiene (as part of standard precautions), patient isolation, and patient/staff decolonization. Improving hand hygiene practice is especially important where the risk of infection is highest, e.g. in intensive care. Physical isolation has two advantages: the physical barrier interrupts transmission, and this barrier emphasizes that precautions are required. With limited isolation facilities, risk assessment should be conducted to indicate which patients should be isolated. Environmental hygiene, although important, has a lower priority than standard precautions. When a patient is ready for discharge (home) or transfer (to another healthcare facility), the overall interests of the patient should take priority. All patients should be informed of their MRSA-positive status as soon as possible. Because of increased mupirocin resistance, a selective approach to decolonization should be taken. When MRSA-positive staff are identified, restricting their professional activity will depend on the nature of their work. Finally, politicians and others need to commit to providing the necessary resources to maximize MRSA prevention and control.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Clinical Microbiology and Infection|
|Publication status||Published - 2009|