Poll of Infection Prevention and Control Professionals Reveals MRSA Prevention Progress Six Months After National Survey

WASHINGTON, December 11, 2007 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A poll of infection prevention professionals conducted six months after the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology's (APIC's) national MRSA Prevalence Study indicated that while 59 percent of the 2,100 who responded are adopting or have already adopted interventions to address Methicillin-resistant (MRSA), 50 percent said their health care facility is not doing as much as it could or should to stop the transmission of MRSA.

MRSA is a virulent multi-drug resistant organism. Interventions adopted ranged from increased hand hygiene compliance and testing of high-risk groups to the more comprehensive approach outlined in APIC's .

"We took this informal poll of our membership to get a sense of the pace of progress and what's changed in the six months since our MRSA Prevalence Study," said Kathy L. Warye, Chief Executive Officer of APIC. "We are encouraged that many hospitals are empowering infection prevention professionals to implement more MRSA prevention measures. However, it's concerning that many infection prevention programs are still inadequately funded and that facilities lack resources, staff and buy-in from senior management to prevent the transmission of MRSA."

Two recent studies have brought increased attention to MRSA. In June, APIC released the first national MRSA Prevalence Study which is being published in the December issue of the . This was followed by a CDC report published in the in October.

"Our members understand the severity of this issue and are aggressively addressing MRSA, but the scope of this public health threat demands commitment and participation from every hospital, at all levels of the facility," said Denise Murphy, president of APIC and Vice President of Safety and Quality, and Chief Patient Safety and Quality Officer at Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis. "Hospitals should commit the resources to conduct a thorough risk assessment of patient populations and implement viable strategies to prevent MRSA and other antimicrobial-resistant infections."

APIC guidelines for the elimination of MRSA transmission include a to identify high-risk areas for MRSA within the hospital; to outline activities and procedures to identify MRSA cases; adherence to CDC guidelines; use of (e.g., gloves, gowns and separating MRSA patients from other patients); , especially items that are close to patients such as bedrails and bedside equipment, and (testing of high-risk groups).

"What health care leaders need to understand is that these interventions represent pennies on the dollar compared to the costs of infections once they occur. Reducing these infections saves both lives and scarce resources," said Warye. "APIC will conduct a thorough, formal study with our members in six months, and at that time we expect to see many more facilities in compliance with national guidelines."

Published in the December 2007 issue of the , the APIC MRSA Prevalence Study offers the most comprehensive understanding of MRSA to date. The study revealed that MRSA is significantly more widespread throughout health care facilities and across every state.

Findings demonstrate MRSA prevalence rates to be 46 in 1,000 patients, eight times higher than previous estimates. Of those, approximately 34/1,000 were infected while 12/1,000 patients were colonized. The APIC study was the first study to measure rates of both MRSA infection and colonization (patients carrying and able to transmit MRSA), to more accurately determine MRSA prevalence.

For more details on the study, including a full copy of the AJIC article, polling questions and results, and sample unedited comments from ICPs polled, please visit http://www.apic.org/Content/NavigationMenu/ResearchFoundation/NationalMRSAPrevalenceStudy/MRSA_Study_Results.htm.

www.apic.org

CONTACT: Liz Garman of APIC, +1-202-454-2604, cell +1-202-365-7421,; or Jonathan Osmundsen, +1-202-261-2869,, for APIC egarman@apic.org jonathan.osmundsen@mslpr.com

Web site: http://www.apic.org/

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Posted: December 2007

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