Posts tagged: superbug

Why New Innovations In Infection Control Are Important To Our Future

Recently, a report from CTV’s medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip highlighted our innovative technology being used at Vancouver General Hospital. After a year long project, the use of MRSAid nasal decolonization and chlorhexidine body wipes before surgery demonstrated a significant reduction in the number of patients contracting surgical site infections.

We are counting on public support to encourage early adoption of this important infection prevention technology in our healthcare facilities. Lives and better patient outcomes are at stake as so many of our current antibiotics have become less effective against a growing number of superbugs. Everyone now knows of someone who has died of an infection; this was not the case when I was growing up.

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Rapid MRSA Diagnosis needs Rapid MRSA Decolonization Therapeutics

There are several companies which offer rapid diagnostic tests for a drug-resistant staph infection known as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), one of the most common superbugs found in hospitals. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that MRSA affects 90,000 Americans each year, killing about 18,000.

Rapid diagnosis of MRSA enables a healthcare facility to quickly determine if a new patient is colonized with MRSA and would enable intervention measures to be deployed more quickly. Rapid diagnosis is expected to therefore reduce  the spread of MRSA to other patients via healthcare workers who are seen to be the usual vector of transmission across the healthcare facilities. Deployment measures would include isolation chambers, full gown & glove protocols, hand washing before and after patient visits etc.  An additional use of MRSA diagnostics is the opportunity to apply intervention measures to  prevent surgical site infections since MRSA carriers run the risk of self-infection once their bodies are immuno-compromised after a surgery.

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Clostridium Difficile Outbreak Kills More than 30 in Ontario

Finally, it now seems that the Ontario hospitals affected by clostridium difficile have gotten the outbreak under control.  Hospitals, especially within the Niagara region, noticed a surge in C. difficile cases since May of this year and many struggled to keep the number of serious infections and resulting deaths down.

C. difficile is a superbug that can secrete high levels of toxin.  It causes symptoms of severe diarrhea and swelling of the colon, which can burst and result in death from septic shock.  C. difficile infections mainly result from eradication of the normal gut flora by antibiotics, and often affect the elderly, patients with weakened immune systems, and patients who have had previous surgery. In many cases, C. difficile spreads in hospitals through contact with fecal matter and can stay hidden in a body without showing symptoms for long periods of time.  Once infected with this superbug, patients are forced to suffer from severe dehydration, diarrhea, organ failure, and blood poisoning. Read more »

High MRSA Rates Common in Dental Schools

A recent Seattle study published in the  American Journal of Infection and Control found very high rates of MRSA colonization among dental students at the University of Washington.  This is cause for concern as we are now only beginning to understand the extent of the MRSA problem outside of the hospital setting. Of the 61 dental students tested, one in five were positive for carrying this superbug within their nose. In addition, samples testing for evidence of MRSA on equipment surfaces, dental chairs, and floors proved that four out of seven dental clinics at the University carried this superbug.

Although the CDC is urging that this study not be taken as a representation of typical rates in dental and hospital settings, the true prevalence of MRSA in our communities is not fully known. Another recent study conducted with dental school students in buffalo, N.Y. presented an even greater rate of infection of infection with 31% of 84 people testing positive for the superbug.

Clearly, the rates of community-acquired MRSA colonization are on the rise.  MRSA is found on the skin or most commonly in the nose and those who are colonized may not not even know it as they often do not show signs and symptoms of infection. These studies are therefore one step towards helping us understand the true extent of the MRSA problem. Further study into this topic is needed in order to present a more accurate picture of community-acquired rates of MRSA.

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