(MAYWOOD) October 29, 2007 - Loyola University Medical Center will begin an aggressive screening program to detect methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, commonly known as MRSA, for every planned admission to the hospital.
âThis is, quite simply, the right thing to do. It is an important component of our overall plan to improve patient safety in all aspects of care,â said Dr. Paul Whelton, president and CEO of Loyola University Health System.
The screening program has already been implemented in Loyolaâs intensive care units and screening will be extended in November to all patients entering the hospital. The testing will involve DNA analysis of a nasal swab sample at the time of admission. Results are returned within two hours.
MRSA is a strain of bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics that are commonly used to treat staphylococcal infections. Most MRSA infections occur in hospitals and in other healthcare settings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC). Officials at the CDC estimate that 79,000 people get MRSA infections from healthcare facilities each year. Some of the infections can be life-threatening, especially those that occur in patients with surgical incisions or weakened immune systems.
âAs an academic medical center with an overriding emphasis on patient safety, we feel that itâs our responsibility to lead the way with this initiative. New reports from the medical literature have found that MRSA is a greater threat than had previously been thought. We see this as a worthwhile investment in improving safety for our patients,â said Whelton.
Since 2005, Loyola has been piloting several initiatives to reduce MRSA. Active screening and surveillance have been used successfully in the neonatal unit and in the intensive care unit. The decision to move to universal hospital screening grew out of the significant reduction in infection seen in these two areas.
Concern about MRSA is growing nationwide, but was recently heightened by an Oct. 17 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), which found that the infections have become more widespread and are not confined to healthcare settings. Several schools in the Chicago area have been closed temporarily when students were found to have the infection.