Preventing Infections in Healthcare

Progress made to reduce MRSA infections in healthcare facilities has slowed. People are at higher risk for MRSA infection when they

  • have surgery,
  • have medical devices inserted in their body, or
  • use needles to inject drugs.

More action by healthcare providers and administrators—added to current CDC recommendations for reducing the risk of staph infections and spread—can prevent more staph infections in healthcare facilities and the community.

Contact Precautions

CDC recommends the use of Contact Precautions in inpatient acute care settings for patients known to be colonized or infected with epidemiologically important multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) including MRSA.

From 2005 to 2014, the overall estimated incidence of invasive MRSA infections from normally sterile sites (i.e., blood, pleural fluid, etc.) in the United States declined by 40% and the estimated incidence of invasive hospital-onset MRSA infections declined by 65%. Interventions designed to decrease risk of device and procedure-associated infections and interventions to reduce transmission, like Contact Precautions and hand hygiene, both likely contributed to these decreases. The relative contribution of Contact Precautions in comparison to other interventions is unknown.

In the past 5 years, more than a dozen studies, review articles, and editorials have sought to address whether Contact Precautions should continue to be recommended for endemic MDROs like MRSA. The impact of discontinuing Contact Precautions for MRSA-colonized or infected patients has been assessed primarily in single-center studies using lower quality quasi-experimental designs that have not identified changes in MRSA infection or acquisition rates. These studies likely underestimate the impact of discontinuing Contact Precautions, including the effect on downstream adverse events (e.g., post-discharge infections).

Based on the current evidence, CDC continues to recommend the use of Contact Precautions for MRSA-colonized or infected patients. CDC will continue to evaluate the evidence on Contact Precautions as it becomes available. In addition, CDC continues to work with partners to identify and evaluate other measures to decrease transmission of MDROs in healthcare settings.

MRSA remains an important healthcare pathogen and the prevention of MRSA infections is a priority for CDC. CDC estimates that MRSA is responsible for more than 70,000 severe infections and 9,000 deaths per year.

Make preventing staph infections (MRSA and MSSA) a priority in healthcare facilities:

  • assess your facility’s data,
  • implement prevention actions, and
  • evaluate progress.

If a MRSA outbreak has occurred, contact your facility’s infection prevention department or your local/state health department.

Putting a Stop to MRSA: Video
Video commentary

Putting a Stop to MRSA: Active Detection and Isolationexternal icon Log In required.

CDC Expert Commentary –Dr. John Jernigan reviews the latest evidence that ending MRSA infection in hospitals is achievable.

Factsheets for Clinicians
Two page information sheet on MRSA

Information about MRSA Skin Infections (Print Only) pdf icon[PDF – 2 pages]

– Treatment options
– Outpatient management of skin and soft tissue infections
– Role of decolonization