14% of new hospital patients harbor superbugs: 4 study findings

Some hospital patients contain antibiotic-resistant bacteria on their hands or nostrils at the start of a hospital stay, which highlights the need for patient hand-hygiene programs, according to a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

For the study, researchers took samples from 399 patients admitted to two hospitals in southeast Michigan within 24 hours of arrival to their hospital room. Samples were taken on admission, day three, day seven and weekly until a patient's discharge.

Four study findings:

1. Fourteen percent of patients carried a multidrug-resistant organism when first tested upon admission.

2. Of these individuals, ten percent had a multidrug-resistant organism on their hands.

3. Researchers found multidrug-resistant organisms in 29 percent of patient rooms.

4. Six percent of patients tested positive for a newly acquired multidrug-resistant organism on their hands during their hospital stay.

"Our data suggest that patient hand contamination with [multidrug-resistant organisms] is common and correlates with contamination on high-touch room surfaces," researchers concluded. "Patient hand-hygiene protocols should be considered to reduce transmission of pathogens and healthcare-associated infections."

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