Hospital MRSA Screening May Not Help
Testing Surgical Patients for MRSA Didn't Curb MRSA's Spread in Hospital Study
March 11, 2008 -- Curbing the spread of
MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) in hospitals may
not be achieved by screening patients before hospital admission.
So say Swiss researchers, who weren't able to reduce hospital-acquired MRSA
infection by giving preadmission MRSA tests to surgery patients.
"There exists no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem of MRSA
prevention," states an editorial published with the study in The Journal
of the American Medical Association.
In the Swiss study, nearly 10,200 surgery patients were tested for MRSA
before being admitted to the hospital.
The MRSA test detected MRSA in 5% of the patients, most of whom didn't know
they were MRSA carriers. But although the MRSA test was "rapid," the
MRSA test results often weren't available until after the patient was out of
Of all the patients in the hospital, both tested and untested, only one in a
thousand acquired MRSA during their hospital stay.
There may not have been much room for improvement in reducing the
hospital-acquired MRSA infection rate, note Stephan Harbarth, MD, MS, and
colleagues at the University of Geneva Hospitals and Medical School.
Screening all hospital patients for MRSA is controversial, and basic
infection control may curb MRSA along with other hospital-acquired infections,
according to the editorial.
The editorialists included Daniel Diekema, MD, of the University of Iowa
Carver College of Medicine and the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Medical