Staphylococcus aureus: a review of the literature
- •Staphylococcus aureus has a long association with nosocomial infection. Problems date from the 1950s, although methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) did not emerge until the following decade.
- •Initially the pathogenicity of antibiotic-resistant strains was underestimated, and is still sometimes questioned, but today most authorities consider MRSA a serious threat, especially given current preoccupation with cost-effectiveness within the health service: nosocomial infection is associated with increased expenditure and may be regarded as a hallmark of indifferent nursing and medical care.
- •This review documents the emergence of MRSA and recognition of the ensuing problems throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, with suggestions for nursing activities which could contribute towards improved control.
- •Lessons learnt during outbreaks are seen to be of value, but there is also a need for staff at ward level to review routine practice continually so that awareness of activities likely to result in cross-infection is maintained. The use of protective clothing emerges as less important than handwashing, which may be periodically audited to maintain standards.