Controlling MRSA infection threat imperative for healthcare facilities and the community

By on 10:45 AM

Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) has gained tremendous notoriety of the years as a healthcare associated and community acquired organism with mild to serious consequences. While it has been identified in persons for well over 40 years, its presence has increased dramatically and extra infection control and prevention efforts both within the healthcare setting (hospitals and nursing homes) as well as the community, has been and continues to be a necessity.

Recently, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team reported that two of its players were treated for infections with one of them requiring surgery to his foot.

Today, if a patient presents to the Emergency Department at a hospital with a skin infection, particularly those that would be considered a spider bite type of lesion, the staff will in most instances, treat it as if it is a possible MRSA infection until proved differently.

Community acquired MRSA is frequently found in sport team’s locker rooms, gymnasiums and sports related areas in schools.

How is the spread of MRSA controlled?

Hospitals are well aware of the need for compliance with hand washing and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers. The staff are also educated about the need to perform strict environmental cleaning including patient rooms, equipment used on and by patients and the hospitals in general.

Sports players and gym members should be diligent about hand-hygiene with resources being readily available such as sinks, soap, paper towels and alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Hands should be sanitized as often as possible after having contact with the environment and sports equipment. In addition, players and members should be provided with germicidal products and paper towel to wipe down equipment before and after each use, followed by hand hygiene.

School janitors and staff members should be well aware of the need to keep the environment as “germ free” as possible by frequently cleaning surfaces including school gym equipment and mats. EPA approved germicides that are as toxic free to people should be used. Teachers and other staff members should educate school students about hand washing and general hygiene.

With the ever challenging threats of “bad bugs” such as MRSA circulating in healthcare facilities and community settings, the need for infection control education in providing a “safe environment” is imperative. 

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC

Phenelle Segal, RN, CIC, FAPIC, is the founder and president of Infection Control Consulting Services LLC (ICCS). Phenelle has more than 30 years' experience providing customized comprehensive infection control and prevention services to healthcare facilities nationwide. Her services focus on assisting hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, dental office and oral surgery practices, doctor's offices, nursing homes and other organizations with implementing and maintaining an infection control program that: complies with The Joint Commission, AAAHC, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and other regulatory agencies; respond to situations of noncompliance; and improve the processes for reducing risk.