-- Robert Preidt
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The number of
infections with dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria at VA
long-term care centers has dropped since a program to combat the
problem was launched in 2009, a new report shows.
The initiative to reduce the number of methicillin-resistant
Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA) infections was implemented in
133 VA long-term care facilities. Within 42 months, there was a 36
percent decrease in MRSA infections at those centers.
This is the first time that such a large decline in MRSA
infections in long-term care facilities has been reported,
according to the authors of the study published in the January
issue of the
American Journal of Infection Control.
Patients in long-term care centers are at risk for infection
with bacteria that are resistant to numerous types of antibiotics,
and these bacteria can be difficult to control in such facilities.
In a medical facility, MRSA can cause life-threatening bloodstream
infections, pneumonia and surgical site infections, the study
authors noted in a journal news release.
The program used in the VA centers had already proven effective
in reducing MRSA infections in hospitals. It includes screening all
patients for MRSA, use of gowns and gloves when caring for patients
colonized or infected with MRSA, good hand hygiene, and emphasizing
caregivers' individual responsibility for infection control.
The findings suggest that following "a simple bundle of
infection prevention and control strategies" may be an effective
way to control MRSA infections in long-term care centers,
especially if such measures are implemented in a large number of
facilities, Dr. Martin Evans, of the VA Medical Center in
Lexington, Ky., and colleagues concluded.
The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
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