Infection Control

Protecting your work force from MDRO infections

Briefings on Infection Control, October 1, 2009

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In recent years, MDROs have come under increased scrutiny, particularly in hospitals. As more infections become progressively resistant to antibiotics, the need to prevent and control these infections in other ways increases.

Because of The Joint Commission’s National Patient Safety Goals (NPSG), specifically NPSG.07.03.01, which focuses on MDRO prevention, hospitals are well aware of the dangers these resistant organisms pose to susceptible patients.

Studies have shown that MRSA bacteria can survive on dry inanimate objects anywhere from seven days to seven months. VRE can live on a surface for five days to four months and C.diff spores can live for five months.

A recent study published in the July The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal found that the rate of MRSA infections in infants in U.S. neonatal ICUs tripled from 1995 to 2004. Using data from the National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance system, researchers focused on lateonset infections that developed more than three days after birth. They discovered that the rate went from less than one infection for every 10,000 hospital days to roughly three, with the greatest increase occurring after 2002. Late-onset infections are typically transmitted by parents, healthcare personnel, and other contacts. Although much of the focus on MDROs revolves around patient safety, workers put themselves at risk for easily transmittable infections such as MRSA on a daily basis. Without the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and hand hygiene, healthcare workers put their patients and themselves at risk for infection. If an employee contracts such an infection, it could be considered a workplace illness and lead to OSHA involvement.

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