MRSA rates drop significantly at VA facilities, likely due to active surveillance initiative

Between October 2007 and September 2015, monthly rates for hospital-acquired infections of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus dropped significantly in Veterans Affairs facilities, a decrease that is associated with the Department of Veterans Affairs' Veterans Health Administration's 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. The researchers examined monthly reports to analyze MRSA and HAI data from the VA.

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Monthly MRSA HAI rates dropped by:

•    87 percent in intensive care units
•    80.1 percent in non-ICUs
•    80.9 percent in spinal cord injury units

From July 2009 to September 2015, long-term care facilities saw MRSA HAI rates fall by 49.4 percent. During September 2015, only two MRSA HAIs were reported in ICUs, 20 in non-ICUs and 31 in LTCFs nationwide.

"We speculate that active surveillance was the primary driver of the downward trends seen in the VA, because MRSA HAI rates had not changed prior to October 2007 when the initiative was fully implemented," the study authors concluded.

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