Intensive environmental cleaning reduces spread of hospital superbugs

March 22nd, 2009 - 3:59 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar 22 (ANI): A rigorous environmental cleaning intervention can help reduce the spread of hospital superbugs in ICUs, according to a new study led by Indian origin scientist.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other multidrug-resistant organisms transmitted in hospitals are known to kill thousands of people every year.

Rupak Datta, MPH, an MD/PhD candidate at the University of California at Irvine and his colleagues have suggested that following an enhanced cleaning protocol reduced the spread of MRSA to patients exposed to rooms in which the prior occupant had been colonized or infected.

“We know that environmental contamination with highly antibiotic-resistant bacteria can still occur in hospitals where cleaning policies exceed national standards established by the CDC,” said Datta.

“Although the risk of acquiring MRSA and VRE is already low, this study suggests that there are additional preventative measures that hospitals can take to reduce the risk of transmission from one patient to another,” he added.

The multi-modal cleaning intervention consists of three parts: a change from use of a pour bottle to bucket immersion for applying disinfectant to cleaning cloths; an educational campaign involving the environmental services staff at the hospital; and feedback method using removal of intentionally-applied marks visible only under UV light.

During the study, the researchers examined more than 13,000 hospital stays in10 ICUs at a large, tertiary care academic medical centre in Boston.

Routine admission and weekly screenings for MRSA and VRE were conducted during pre intervention and intervention periods.

The researchers found that during pre-intervention period, 3.9pct of the 1,454 patients exposed to a prior occupant with MRSA acquired the pathogen, while just 1.5pct of the 1,443 patients acquired the infection during the intervention.

Of the 1,291 patients exposed to VRE prior to the intervention, 4.5pct acquired VRE compared to 3.5pct of 1,446 patients during intervention.

“The results suggest that a multi-modal cleaning intervention can reduce MRSA and, to a lesser extent, VRE transmission in high-risk patient areas including the ICU,” said Datta.

The study was published at the annual meeting of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA). (ANI)

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