20 latest findings on MRSA

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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus can cause numerous health issues, including skin infections, sepsis, pneumonia and bloodstream infections, according to the CDC.

Here are 20 findings on MRSA in 2017, beginning with the most recent:

1. University of Hong Kong researchers identified a chemical compound that can help fight MRSA, without resorting to antibiotics. The compound, NP16, inhibits the MRSA-produced staphyloxanthin, which can resist the human immune system. The researcher published their findings in mBio.

2. Nursing scrubs with antimicrobial properties do not prevent bacterial contamination in healthcare settings, according to a study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. Of 120 nurse shifts studied, researchers found new contamination on scrubs during 39 shifts. Staphylococcus aureus — including MRSA and methicillin susceptible S. aureus — was the most commonly transmitted pathogen.

3. A study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology shows healthcare-associated infections due to multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria and MRSA elevate mortality risk among patients. Researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study of inpatients in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs system between Oct. 1, 2007, and Nov. 30, 2010.

4. Even if healthcare workers wash their hands perfectly, they could still transmit MRSA to vulnerable infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. Researchers from Philadelphia-based Drexel University created a simulated NICU at Newark, Del.-based Christiana Care to see the potential for per-hour infant-to-infant MRSA transmission via a healthcare worker resulting in colonization. They published their findings in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

5. Screening for the colonization of MRSA in the noses of patients upon admission does not fuel prolonged use of the antibiotic vancomycin, according to a study published in the American Journal of Infection Control. The research team assessed the duration of antibiotic use among 2,910 patients administered intravenous vancomycin at Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System from January 2013 through November 2015.

6. A decolonization effort spearheaded by the Veterans Health Administration reduced the rate of MRSA infections among residents at Salisbury (N.C.) Veterans Affairs Community Living Center by 89 percent over a four-year span. The initiative included giving residents who tested positive for MRSA daily chlorhexidine baths and treating them with intra-nasal mupirocin. The researchers presented their findings at the 44th Annual Conference of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, June 14 to June 16 in Portland, Ore.

7. Hospital door handles often harbor MRSA, a study in Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control, shows. Researchers swabbed 120 door handles, stair railings and other high-touch areas in three hospitals in Ghana, West Africa. A total of 47 of the swabs (39 percent) were positive for S. aureus, and eight of them were MRSA.

8. Children suffering from MRSA-related bloodstream infections have a high risk of developing complications, which worsen each day the infection is left untreated, according to a study published in Pediatrics. Researchers examined MRSA infections in 232 patients, younger than 18 years, from 2007 to 2014 in three large children's hospitals.

9. Scientific researchers created a hybrid cell fusing components of viruses that attack bacteria with human immune cells. In mice, the hybrid cells successfully treated life-threatening MRSA. The researchers published their findings in Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences.

10. A study published in the American Journal of Infection Control shows MRSA pneumonia incidence decreased among patients at U.S. hospitals, accompanied by improvements in mortality rates. Researchers conducted a retrospective analysis of the National Inpatient Sample from 2009 to 2012.

11. Bathing daily with with chlorhexidine gluconate can reduce incidence of some hospital-acquired infections, such as MRSA and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus. Researchers conducted the study in four inpatient units in a Canadian hospital from May 1, 2014, to Aug. 10, 2015. The study results were published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

12. Germs on hospital room floors can move rapidly to high-touch surfaces and then healthcare worker hands, thus making dirty hospital floors more of an infection risk than previously thought, according to a study in the American Journal of Infection Control. Researchers cultured 318 floor sites from 159 patient rooms in five Cleveland-area hospitals, as well as gloved and bare hands and other high-touch surfaces like clothes, call buttons and medical devices.

13. A study published in Chemical Science shows an antibiotic substance created by bacteria found on a species of African ant native to Kenya inhibits the growth of vancomycin-resistant Enterococci and MRSA. The bacteria — isolated from the African fungus-growing plant-ant Tetraponera penzigi — has been dubbed Streptomyces formica.

14. A refined extract from red berries of the Brazilian peppertree inhibited MRSA in mice. To determine whether the plant's botanical properties could be used to treat drug-resistant infections, researchers extracted a refined flavone-rich composition from the plant's berries. Scientific Reports published the study.

16. An international team of researchers discovered silver ion-coated scaffolds — biomaterials that are created to hold stem cells — can slow and even prevent, in some cases, the spread of MRSA, while also regenerating new bone. The researchers coated the threads of a bone-forming scaffold with a silver ion-containing solution before testing. Tissue Engineering, Part A published the study.

17. An organic compound extracted from a deep-water marine sponge displayed potent antibacterial capabilities when introduced to MRSA, according to research published in Marine Drugs. Researchers found the sponge while searching for unusual marine organisms near the Bahamas.

18. A new study published in BMC Infectious Diseases examined the efficacy of different approaches for cleaning environmental surfaces to prevent contact transmission of MRSA and other hospital-acquired infections. The study shows whole room cleaning just before first patient care activities of the day was more effective than whole room cleaning at other times. Additionally, whole room cleaning reduced the number of MRSA transmitted to the susceptible patient by 54 percent.

19. Adding ultraviolet-C light disinfection to standard terminal room disinfection practices can reduce transmission of drug-resistant organisms, including MRSA, by a cumulative 30 percent, according to a study led by Durham, N.C.-based Duke Health and published in The Lancet. The trial took place from 2012 to 2014 at nine hospitals — three Duke University Health System hospitals, a Veterans Affairs hospital and small community healthcare settings.

20. Between October 2007 and September 2015, monthly rates for hospital-acquired infections of MRSA dropped significantly in Veterans Affairs facilities, a decrease that is associated with a VA campaign focused on reducing MRSA rates, according to a study in the American Journal of Infection Control. The campaign included having a dedicated MRSA prevention coordinator at each facility to oversee a bundle of interventions. Some of the interventions were contact precautions for those colonized or infected with MRSA and adherence to hand hygiene. 

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