Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is caused by an antibiotic-resistant strain of staph. This most common type of this infection is known as healthcare-associated MRSA (HA-MRSA), which can be contracted in hospitals and other healthcare settings. This infection is often associated with invasive procedures and devices such as surgery, artificial joints, catheters, and intravenous tubing, but can also be contracted from skin, clothing, utensils, or other surfaces that have been in physical contact with an MRSA-infected person.
Why is MRSA Infection such a concern?
Staph bacteria, which can be found on the skin of about one-third of the population, is usually harmless unless it enters the body through a cut or wound. While only 2 percent of people carry the MRSA staph bacteria, patients in healthcare facilities are more susceptible to this infection for a variety of reasons when they are undergoing invasive procedures, have compromised immune systems, or require an extended stay in a healthcare facility.
Once contracted, this infection can do extensive damage and can even be life threatening and my affect a person’s bloodstream, lungs, heart, joints and bones. Even more troubling is the antibiotic-resistant nature of MRSA staph bacteria, which makes it difficult to eliminate once the infection has set in.
How can MRSA infections be prevented?
Several steps can be taken to minimize the spread of MRSA bacteria. People who are infected with MRSA can be placed in isolation. Visitors and healthcare workers that will be in contact with the infected person must wear protective garments and be vigilant about disinfecting their hands.
What critical risk factor could we be forgetting?
One risk that is often overlooked when it comes to reducing the spread of infections is associated with construction and renovation in healthcare facilities. Construction and renovation produce excess dust that can carry mold and bacteria throughout the building. The presence of excess foot traffic, equipment and vibration during construction and renovation work makes it easy for harmful dust to spread through bacteria throughout the building and infect occupants.
Since MRSA can be spread through simple contact of skin or other tools and surfaces exposed to MRSA bacteria, managing and controlling these risks associated with hospital construction and renovation is an essential step in protecting patients from contracting MRSA infections.