A Hospital’s Role in Preventing MRSA

Medical patients in New Mexico should be aware of MRSA and the procedures hospitals currently follow to prevent its spread.

As summarized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MRSA is not a general-use acronym for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Rather, it is one of several so-called superbugs that are resistant to one or more antibiotic treatment regimens. MRSA is a type of bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus that is resistant to the antibiotic Methicillin. While Staphylococcus aureus can commonly be found on human skin, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus poses a serious health risk to patients in hospitals and care facilities. It is spread by contact with contaminated surfaces, including bed linens, handrails and equipment. It can spread quickly before it is detected. MRSA is treatable but may require surgical intervention. 

Hospitals and medical providers play a big role in preventing the spread of MRSA. The best way to control it is by maintaining clean conditions. Medical providers must always wash their hands before caring for patients. Hospitals must ensure that MRSA patients are isolated and contained. They must establish procedures for rooms to be thoroughly cleaned between patients. When dealing with MRSA patients, providers must use physical barriers, like gloves, masks and gowns, to avoid spreading the infection to other patients.

Reuters reports that hospital efforts to control MRSA face some hurdles. The U.S. currently has no standards for keeping track of how many patients fall ill with antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains each year. Research reports suggest that this number could be in the hundreds of thousands. Also, treatment research is funded by pharmaceutical companies with an interest in having the efficacy of their products proved. This calls into question the validity of research showing that antibacterial treatment wipes are effective in preventing antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. Researchers are calling for greater government funding of antibiotic-resistant bacteria research to better ascertain the scope of the problem and the efficacy of hospital attempts to solve it.

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