What is MRSA?
Staphylococcus aureus is a germ that lives on the skin and mucous membranes of healthy people. Occasionally S. aureus can cause an infection. When S. aureus develops resistance to certain antibiotics, it is called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.
How is MRSA spread?
MRSA is spread from one person to another by contact, usually on the hands of caregivers. MRSA can be present on the caregiver’s hands either from touching contaminated material excreted by the infected person or from touching articles contaminated by the skin of a person with MRSA, such as towels, sheets and wound dressings. MRSA can live on hands and objects in the environment.
What is bacteraemia?
Bacteraemia is the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream and is referred to as a bloodstream infection.
What is a case of MRSA bacteraemia?
A case is a patient identified with laboratory confirmed bloodstream infection with methicillin resistant Staphylococccus aureus (MRSA). A blood stream infection is a single positive blood culture for MRSA.
What are the risk factors for MRSA?
Risk factors for MRSA acquisition include invasive procedures, prior treatment with antibiotics, prolonged hospital stay, stay in an intensive care or burn unit, surgical wound infection and close proximity to a colonized person. MRSA can also be transmitted from mother to child through breast milk.
What special precautions are required for MRSA?
It is important that special precautions are taken to stop MRSA from spreading to other patients in the hospital. These precautions include:
- Single room accommodation (the door can remain open)
- A long-sleeved gown and gloves must be worn by everyone who cares for you
- A sign may be placed on your door to remind others who enter your room about the special
- The room and the equipment used in the room will be cleaned and disinfected regularly
- Everyone who leaves your room must clean their hands well
- You must clean your hands before you leave your room
What about Family/Visitors?
Families and visitors should not assist other patients with their personal care as this may cause the germ to spread. You may be required to wear a long-sleeved gown and gloves while in your loved one’s (client) room. Before leaving the room, visitors must remove the gloves and gown and dispose of wash your hands.
Good Hand Hygiene Practices
All clients, patients, staff, families and visitors should practice good hand hygiene. Ask your nurse or doctor to demonstrate proper hand hygiene techniques (15 seconds of soap and running water OR waterless alcohol hand rub until hands are dry).
Remember to always wash your hands:
- After using the bathroom
- After blowing your nose
- Before eating and drinking
- When your hands are visibly dirty (soiled)
- Before you leave the client room
What will happen at home?
If you or your loved one have MRSA at the time of discharge from hospital, the chance of spreading the germ to your family is small. But, you should practice the following:
- Everyone who might help you with your personal hygiene or with going to the toilet should wash their hands after contact with you.
- Wash your hands before you make any food and before you eat. This practice should be followed by everyone in the household.
- Wash your hands well after using the toilet. Make sure others that use the bathroom wash their hands well afterwards.
- Clothing may be laundered in the same manner as the rest of the household laundry.
- No special cleaning of furniture or items (e.g. dishes) in the home is required.
- Always tell your physician, paramedics, nurses or other care providers that you have MRSA. This helps prevent spread to others.