Web Zap*Germs Archive

January 23, 2006

UK Hospital Screening All Patients for MRSA

The University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has decided to screen all in-patients for MRSA (antibiotic-resistant staph) before admittance, and is thought to be the first in the NHS to adopt the screening policy as a routine. Patients carrying the bug will get a kit containing soap and shampoo with the same disinfectant as that used by [operating-room] staff, and an antibiotic cream to put up the nose, where MRSA colonises.

The hospital expects to identify the infection in about six per cent of patients screened, the rate in the general population where MRSA lives harmlessly in the nose or on the skin. The problems arise when there is then an open wound. In the five days before admission patients will be asked to use the cream daily, the body wash for five days and the shampoo three times.

"This should keep it away for two weeks, which gives wounds time to heal," said Dr Peter Wilson, consultant microbiologist at the hospital. "We think we can reduce infection by 70 per cent."
[Hat tip: MRSAWatch]

Note: In April 2005 I posted about several Pittsburgh-area hospitals taking nose swabs from every new patient.


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