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MRSA study: simple steps slash deadly infections in sickest hospital patients

Bloodstream infections cut by more than 40 percent in study of more than 74,000 patients

A new study on antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals shows that using germ-killing soap and ointment on all intensive-care unit (ICU) patients can reduce bloodstream infections by up to 44 percent and significantly reduce the presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).  Patients who have MRSA present on their bodies are at increased risk of developing a MRSA infection and can spread the germ to other patients. 

Researchers evaluated the effectiveness of three MRSA prevention practices: routine care, providing germ-killing soap and ointment only to patients with MRSA , and providing germ-killing soap and ointment to all ICU patients.   The study found:

  • Routine care did not significantly reduce MRSA or bloodstream infections.
  • Providing germ-killing soap and ointment only to patients with MRSA reduced bloodstream infections by any germ by 23 percent.
  • Providing germ-killing soap and ointment to all ICU patients reduced MRSA by 37 percent and bloodstream infections by any germ by 44 percent.

The study, REDUCE MRSA trial, was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and took place in two stages from 2009-2011. A multidisciplinary team from the University of California, Irvine, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) carried out the study.  A total of 74 adult ICUs and 74,256 patients were part of the study, making it the largest study on this topic to date.

 

Graphics / Images

  • CRE germs kill up to half of patients who get bloodstream infections from them

    Wash your hands: remind your caregivers to do the same.

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  • CRE germs kill up to half of patients who get bloodstream infections from them

    CDC microbiologist, Valerie Albrecht, holds up two plates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

    This is a description for image 1

  • Vutal Signsweb graphic

    Plates of plates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in CDC’s healthcare-associated infections laboratory.

    This is a description for image 1

Contact Information

CDC Media Relations
(404) 639-3286
media@cdc.gov

Spokespersons

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH

Biography

Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH

CDC invested in these advances in order to protect patients from deadly drug-resistant infections. We need to turn science into practical action for clinicians and hospitals. CDC is working to determine how the findings should inform CDC infection prevention recommendations.

Tom Frieden, MD, MPH - Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

John Jernigan, MD, MS

Biography

John Jernigan, MD, MS

This study demonstrates what can be accomplished for patient safety when we create the right partnerships. This unique collaboration between public health scientists, academic investigators, and private hospitals allowed us to take novel infection prevention strategies to patients’ bedside. With these critical partnerships, we can better protect patients and make healthcare safer.

John Jernigan, MD, MS - Director of CDC’s Office of Prevention Research and Evaluation and head of CDC’s Prevention Epicenters Program

Additional Spokespersons

What People Are Saying About the REDUCE MRSA Trial

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