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As of December 30, 2008, all hospitals are required to publicly report their MRSA rates on a quarterly basis.

The method for calculating the MRSA bacteremia rate is as follows:
Number of nosocomial patients with laboratory identification of MRSA bacteremia x 1000
Total number of patient days

MRSA Cases000
Rate/1000 Days

What is MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus)?
Staphylococcus aureus is a germ that lives on the skin and mucous membranes of healthy people. Occasionally S. aureus can cause an infection. When S. aureus develops resistance to certain antibiotics, it is called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

How is MRSA spread?

MRSA is spread from one person to another by contact, usually on the hands of caregivers. MRSA can be present on the caregiver’s hands either from touching contaminated material excreted by the infected person or from touching articles contaminated by the skin of a person with MRSA, such as towels, sheets and wound dressings. MRSA can live on hands and objects in the environment.

Hospital Associated/Nosocomial MRSA: The organism is considered hospital associated/nosocomial if we detect the presence of MRSA 72 hours after admission and it is not likely that the patient has been exposed to either bacteria before they were admitted to us.

It is important to monitor for these types of infections because we do not want them to spread between patients or from patient to visitor. We call this process of monitoring surveillance.

How is surveillance done?

We check patients for MRSA by using sterile cotton swabs and rubbing them on different places on their bodies. If a patient is at high risk for one of these infections, we do the swab testing when these patients are admitted and at other times during his or her hospital stay. These swabs are sent for testing. We call this procedure, screening. If one of these bacteria is found, we put control measures in place to prevent transmission to other patients. If a patient has diarrhea a stool sample will be sent to detect the toxin that is formed from the C. difficile bacteria.

What does it mean if a patient has one of these bacteria?
The presence of bacteria such as MRSA does not necessarily mean that anyone has an infection. It does mean that a patient is more at risk to get an infection, especially if that patient already has a compromised immune system.

What special precautions are required for MRSA in hospital?

  • Precautions include:
  • Single room accommodation (the door can remain open)
  • A long-sleeved gown and gloves must be worn by everyone who cares for you
  • A sign may be placed on your door to remind others who enter your room about the special precautions
  • The room and the equipment used in the room will be cleaned and disinfected regularly
  • Everyone who leaves your room must clean their hands well
  • You must clean your hands before you leave your room
  • Your activities outside your room may be limited

What about family/visitors to the hospital?
Your family and visitors should not assist other patients with their personal care as this may cause the germ to spread. Visitors may be required to wear a long-sleeved gown and gloves while in your room. Before leaving your room, visitors must remove the gloves and gown and dispose of them in the garbage container and the linen hamper located in your room. Then they must clean their hands.

Good Hand Hygiene Practices
Remind all staff and visitors to practice good hand hygiene before and after they touch you. Ask your nurse or doctor to demonstrate proper hand hygiene techniques (15 seconds of soap and running water OR waterless alcohol hand rub until hands are dry).

  • You need to clean your hands:
  • After using the bathroom
  • After blowing your nose
  • Before eating and drinking
  • Before and after you touch your dressing or wounds
  • When your hands are visibly dirty (soiled)
  • Before you leave your room
  • What will happen at home?
  • If you have MRSA at the time of discharge from hospital, there is a small chance of spreading the germ to your family. We recommend you practice the following:
  • Everyone who might help you with your personal hygiene or with going to the toilet should wash their hands after contact with you.
  • Wash your hands before you make any food and before you eat. This practice should be followed by everyone in the household.
  • Wash your hands well after using the toilet. If you share a bathroom, make sure others using that bathroom wash their hands well afterwards.
  • Clothing may be laundered in the same manner as the rest of the household laundry.
  • No special cleaning of furniture or items (e.g. dishes) in the home is required.

Always tell your physician, paramedics, nurses or other care providers that you have MRSA. This helps prevent spread to others.

For more information, please speak to your Health Care Provider