If MRSA gets on our clothes easily, why don't more of us become colonized?

  1. A recent NY Times article described a study that found that hospital workers who entered a MRSA patient's room would end up with MRSA on the workers' clothes about 70% of the time, even if the worker never actually touched the patient.

    My question to you: if MRSA is getting on our clothes, why does it only become part of the flora of some people's skins? ----Only about 32% of the U.S. population has staph aureus, and only about .8% is colonized with MRSA. --I understand that someone with an active MRSA infection is more likely to be immunocompromised. -Is someone who is MRSA-colonized, but is not manifesting an active MRSA infection immunocompromised or just unlucky or...? --Finally --this makes me wonder what the percentage of healthcare workers are who are colonized with stapa aureus and MRSA.

    Thank you. Below find a reference supporting the staph and MRSA numbers as well as a link to the NY Times article mentioned above.


    "Approximately 32% (89.4 million persons) and 0.8% (2.3 millions persons) of the U.S. population is colonized with S. aureus and MRSA respectively."
    http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mr...illanceFS.html

    NY Times on MRSA and healthcare workers' clothes:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/23/he...prod=permalink
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   racing-mom4
    I think there is a reason we swab pts but not nursing staff at our hospital---half the staff couldnt come to work!!

    I would only imagine that we have MRSA and so do our families but our immune systems are stronger and can keep it under control.

    Honestly I dont know alot about MRSA, I know I should but I just dont.

    So I will be interested in watching this post and learning more.
  4. by   BlueRidgeHomeRN
    per the cdc, vets are more heavily colonized than human healthcare personnel, but are rarely infected or symptomatic.

    at this point, pandora is out of the box, and we can only hope that doctors, especially pediatric docs, have enough backbone to stop handing out antibiotics and slow the progression of yet more and "badder" resistant bacteria that may make mrsa look like a rhinovirus.
  5. by   PedsAtHeart
    From what I understand most healthcare workers are colonized, probably just dont know it. I'd kind of like to see a place swab all their workers and give out the results (no names of course). Would be interesting to find out.
  6. by   accessqueen
    They have done studies on helath care workers, and when testing nsal swabs only about 14 % were positive for MRSA. At this point there are more unanswered questions than answered questions about MRSA. I do outpatient IV therapy, and I see more and more community acquired MRSA infections. These are young people with no risk factors. If you do the research of what are risks for MRSA, one thing is recent use of antibiotic therapy. So people who have had previous non-MRSA infections, and were on antibiotics may tend to get MRSA. Also IMHO people who are stressed in any way tend to get it, i.e. I had a patient recently who had a high stress job, and had two surgeries, a hysterectomy, and a breast reduction. This patient was on her crackberry all the time, working, working. She was as stressed as any type A can get. She had two bouts of MRSA back to back.
    The bottom line is as much as we would like to have a more clear cut picture of the why's and wherefore's, we don't. So everyone has to take precautions like never before. I see a huge problem with hospital staff and gloves. People put on gloves and keep them on forever. They touch the patient, change a dressing, then touch the siderails, the phone, the IV
    tubing, etc etc. It's pointless to wear gloves and then contaminate everything in site with your dirty gloves. Because you will at some point touch the siderail, or phone, or something in the room without gloves.
  7. by   nerdtonurse?
    Keep in mind, there's a difference between porous and non-porous surfaces; it's easier to get a bacteria off a hard metal doornob than a piece of cloth, since the bacteria settles into the nooks and cranies of the fabric, so it's easier to get MRSA off a bedrail than off a scrub top.

    I think that the whole MRSA precaution thing is useless at this point; we do everything we can to protect a pt, and then in sails their SO that was just in last month and was MRSA positive on their last stay, and they're getting sodas out of the machines and handing them to the pt, touching elevator buttons, doornobs, phones, etc.

    I think it would be better to identify people with compromised immune systems (and revise that standard to include more folks) and put them on reverse precautions. I think you'd get more bang for the buck that way....
  8. by   Xbox Live Addict
    Quote from racing-mom4
    I think there is a reason we swab pts but not nursing staff at our hospital---half the staff couldnt come to work!!

    I would only imagine that we have MRSA and so do our families but our immune systems are stronger and can keep it under control.

    Honestly I dont know alot about MRSA, I know I should but I just dont.

    So I will be interested in watching this post and learning more.
    I am colonized, and I have had a MRSA skin infection which required 30 days of 2 antibiotics.

    I had worked with MRSA (+) patients for several years, mostly with UTIs but some with respiratory MRSA, and had used precautions according to facility policy.

    I just happened to have the bad luck of a port of entry (a hair follicle) and an immune system that was weakened by stress, plus several patients on isolation for MRSA.
  9. by   oramar
    Quote from smanion
    From what I understand most healthcare workers are colonized, probably just dont know it. I'd kind of like to see a place swab all their workers and give out the results (no names of course). Would be interesting to find out.
    :yeahthat:My guess is that we are colonized in much greater numbers than anyones knows. Why don't we know? Cause they refuse to study the situation and find out.

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