MRSA infection rates vary broadly among nursing homes, report finds

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While nursing homes are considered to be high-risk facilities for the transmission of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) compared to hospitals and ICUs, infection rates vary broadly from facility to facility, according to a study.

Carriage rates (referring to those who could pass on the infection to someone else but are not necessarily sick with the infection) ran the gamut among 10 nursing homes in Orange County, CA. They ranged from 52% in one facility to 7% in another, the January 2011 issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology reported. Researchers at the University of California Irvine Medical Center said that while the high percentages are alarming, the variation between them suggests that some nursing homes are doing a better job of containing infections than other nursing homes. Investigators plan to do additional studies to find out what they are doing differently.

"The social environment in a nursing home has a positive influence on residents, who are encouraged to frequently mingle," the study's lead author, Susan Huang, said in a press release. "We don't want to stymie that residential feel which can be very important to mental and physical health, but we think there's more to be learned about what nursing homes can do to contain MRSA."
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