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Thousands test positive for MRSA in the community

December 5, 2017

If you work in a care home, you might be forgiven for thinking that the risk of MRSA being transmitted outside of a hospital is quite remote.

However, according to an article in the Financial Times, a recent study has revealed numerous small outbreaks of MRSA “in the community, GP surgeries, homes and in between these places.”

The 12-month study, which was carried out by researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, employed new “genomic surveillance” technology to track the spread of MRSA in the East of England.

By sequencing the MRSA genomes of 1,465 people who tested positive for MRSA in the region, the researchers identified 173 separate infection clusters.

Stemming the spread of MRSA

Whilst it can sound quite alarming that MRSA is so widespread in our communities, this research will be invaluable in helping to tackle the spread of MRSA infection in two important ways.

Firstly, because the study has proved how effective the sequencing of MRSA genomes can be in helping to pinpoint where MRSA transmission is happening, the researchers will be passing on real time information to infection control workers as of next year to help them fight outbreaks more effectively.

Secondly, the study has highlighted how many people contract MRSA through indirect transmission, either through environmental contamination or via colonised health workers. As such, it emphasises just how important effective infection control measures are in stopping the spread of MRSA.

This is particularly relevant in care homes where some residents may be more susceptible to the risk of MRSA transmission due to weaker immune systems or the use of indwelling devices such as catheters.

As such, it is very important for care homes to follow effective infection control procedures and use cleaning and disinfectant products that can prevent MRSA transferring to residents from care home staff and the care home environment.

How to tackle MRSA in your care home

Whilst MRSA (Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) can live harmlessly on the skin or in the nose, it can lead to infections where it gets through the skin via a wound or indwelling device such as a catheter.

These infections can range from mild skin infections such as boils and skin abscesses, through to very serious illnesses like pneumonia and septicaemia.

As Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus has become resistant to Meticillin and other antibiotics, it can prove very difficult to treat. As a result, it is important to take basic precautions when one of your residents has MRSA.

With that in mind, we have produced a FREE factsheet entitled ‘Caring for residents with MRSA in your care home’. As well as including 12 tips for effective control of MRSA and a visual handwashing guide, it also includes information on products known to destroy MRSA on hands, clothes and touch points in your care home in under 1 minute.

To request your free copy just email info@cairncare.co.uk or call 0845 226 0185.