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Keywords:

  • High-risk patients;
  • hospital-acquired infection;
  • MRSA;
  • screening;
  • standardised infection ratio;
  • Staphylococcus aureus

Abstract

Screening of potential MRSA-positive patients at hospital admission is recommended in German and international guidelines. This policy has been shown to be effective in reducing the frequency of nosocomial MRSA transmissions in the event of an outbreak, but the influence of screening on reducing hospital-acquired MRSA infections in a hospital setting where MRSA is endemic is not yet well-documented. This study describes the effect of hospital-wide screening of defined risk groups in a 700-bed acute care hospital during a period of 19 months. In a cohort study with a 19-month control period, the frequencies of hospital-acquired MRSA infections were compared with and without screening. In the control period, there were 119 MRSA-positive patients, of whom 48 had a hospital-acquired MRSA infection. On the basis of this frequency, a predicted total of 73.2 hospital-acquired MRSA infections was calculated for the screening period, but only 52% of the expected number (38 hospital-acquired MRSA infections) were observed, i.e., 48% of the predicted number of hospital-acquired MRSA infections were prevented by the screening programme. The screening programme was performed with minimal effort and can therefore be recommended as an effective measure to help prevent hospital-acquired MRSA infections.