Patient bathing or contact precautions: Which reduces MRSA spread the most?

Bathing patients with chlorhexidine is slightly more effective than using contact precautions in preventing the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, according to a study presented at the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America meeting.

The study, presented by James McKinnell, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, found fewer MRSA contamination events when patients were bathed with chlorhexidine compared to when patients were subject to contact precautions. Researchers documented nine MRS environmental contamination events when contact precautions were in use, while seven contamination events occurred when the only precaution was bathing patients in chlorhexidine.

Additionally, patients in contact precautions tend to have fewer interactions with their physicians and may experience lower care quality, according to Dr. McKinnell.

"Further study is needed, but these findings could hold great significance for finding a relatively inexpensive and effective way to prevent the spread of potentially deadly hospital-acquired infections and improve patient care," Dr. McKinnell said.

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