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10-06-2012 | General practice | Article

Antibacterial cloths could reduce geriatric MRSA


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MedWire News: Using disposable antibacterial cloths to bathe elderly patients reduces the transmission rate of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), show Canadian study results.

The findings were presented at the Annual Educational Conference and International Meeting of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) in San Antonio, Texas, USA.

Previous results have shown that after 6 months bathing daily with the 2% chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) wipes, MRSA transmission rates fell from 4.99 to 0.56 per 1000 patient‑days in a geriatric patient population, say Jane Van Toen and colleagues from the Acute Care Transition (ACT) unit of the Baycrest Center for Geriatric Care in Ontario.

Recently, the same team reports that the positive effect continues over time, with an overall reduction in MRSA rates of 82% after 33 months of the bathing protocol.

"Because patients who are colonized with MRSA have a much greater chance of developing a MRSA infection, we knew we needed to intervene to stop transmission and prevent infection," said fellow study author Heather Candon in an associated press release.

"Use of the CHG cloths proved to be a very effective way to achieve and sustain this reduction," she added.

The researchers assessed MRSA-transmission rates at admission and on discharge at their acute care facility that treats patients aged an average of 87 years. Time periods for comparison were the 6 months pre-intervention, a 1-month washout period while staff were trained to use the antibacterial cloths, and the 33 months postintervention.

While rates of MRSA transmission increased from the initial 6-month study, Van Toen et al found that the practice of daily bathing with CHG as standard care equated to a significant (82%) overall reduction in incidence of the infection after almost 3 years.

"Many health care institutions contend with endemic rates of MRSA colonization," say the researchers, and while previous reports have shown that bathing with CHG wipes reduces the risk for infection in patients undergoing surgery, they have never been tested in a geriatric population for the reduction of MRSA transmission.

APIC's 2012 President, Michelle Farber, commented: "The research presented by the Baycrest team represents a potentially promising intervention to reduce MRSA transmission and improve patient safety as part of an overall bundle of infection prevention strategies as identified by a facility's infection risk assessment."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Sarah Guy

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