-- Robert Preidt
SATURDAY, Oct. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Requiring health care
workers to wear gloves and gowns for all contact with intensive
care unit (ICU) patients reduces the risk of one type of
antibiotic-resistant infection, but not another, a new study
Researchers focused on two main types of antibiotic-resistant
infections that affect patients in hospitals and other health care
Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant
A multitude of research shows that health care workers get
bacteria on their hands and clothing by touching patients. The U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of
gloves and gowns -- "contact precautions" -- when caring for
patients known to be colonized (a carrier for) or infected with
However, the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria goes
undetected in many patients and so contact precautions are not
used. It was not known if requiring health care workers to wear
gloves and gowns when dealing with all patients -- not just those
known to be colonized -- would reduce the spread of
In an attempt to answer that question, researchers conducted a
study in medical and surgical ICUs in 20 U.S. hospitals from
January 2012 to October 2012. In some of the ICUs, all health care
workers wore gloves and gowns for all patient contact and when
entering any patient room.
These measures did not reduce rates of VRE infection, but did
reduce rates of MRSA infection, according to Dr. Anthony Harris, of
the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and colleagues.
The study was published online Oct. 4 in the
Journal of the American Medical Associationand scheduled for
Friday presentation at ID Week, a meeting held by the infectious
diseases society of America, in San Francisco.
The findings show that "one size does not fit all" when it comes
to preventing infections in the ICU, Dr. Preeti Malani, of the
University of Michigan Health System and Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor
Healthcare System, wrote in an accompanying editorial.
Efforts to reduce infections must be tailored to the
circumstances and resources of specific ICUs, Malani wrote,
according to a journal news release.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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