Physician Practice

Protecting workers from MDROs in the workplace

Medical Environment Update, August 1, 2009

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In recent years, MDROs have come under increased scrutiny, particularly in the hospital setting. As more and more infections become progressively more resistant to antibiotics, so does the need to prevent and control these infections in other ways.
Although this conversation is usually heard within the walls of inpatient facilities because of the higher risk of healthcare-associated MDROs such as VRE, C. diff, and especially MRSA, outpatient facilities such as ambulatory clinics and physician practices face some of the same risks on a daily basis, and they often lack the screening or testing procedures used by inpatient facilities.
Additionally, even though patients in an outpatient facility do not undergo extended periods of care, they may be carriers of MDROs. 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 patient that is going to the doctor’s office for a follow-up visit after staying at a hospital may unknowingly bring the bacteria into the facility.
Recently, publications have documented the dangers of MDROs in the outpatient setting. An article published in the May 12 Canadian Medical Association Journal concludes that the recent emergence of MDROs such as MRSA, VRE and C. diff “among patients with no known predisposing factors has increased the potential for offices and clinics to become silent reservoirs of these pathogens.”

This is an excerpt from a member only article. To read the article in its entirety, please login or subscribe to Medical Environment Update.

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