Drug resistant bacteria can be more dangerous to patients than what they’ve been admitted to the hospital for in the first place. Laura Landro of The Wall Street Journal explains how doctors can mitigate the risks of these super-bugs.
To prevent deadly infections in intensive-care units, hospitals often screen all patients for the drug-resistant bacteria MRSA, then isolate or treat those found to carry it with germ-killing soap and ointment.
In the study of nearly 75,000 patients at 74 adult ICUs in 43 Hospital Corp. of America HCA -0.73% facilities, the protocol, known as universal decolonization, reduced all bloodstream infections, including those caused by other germs, by 44%, and reduced the incidence of MRSA-positive cultures in the ICU by 37%. Patients were washed with cloths containing antimicrobial soap chlorhexidine and received a nasal antibiotic ointment, mupirocin.