Daily use of antimicrobial wipes cuts nursing facility MRSA transmission rates, investigators find

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Daily use of antimicrobial wipes combined with standard bathing helped one Canadian nursing facility cut its methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus transmission rate by 82% over 33 months, a team of epidemiologists found.

At the beginning of a pilot study in one 27-bed post-acute care unit, investigators observed an average MRSA transmission rate of 4.99 cases per 1,000 patient days. Investigators then introduced the use of disposable wipes treated with the antimicrobial chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) as a standard of care in daily bathing regimes. After 33 months of use, the unit lowered its average MRSA transmission rate to 0.88 cases per 1,000 patient days.

The study presents “a potentially promising intervention to reduce MRSA transmission and improve patient safety as part of an overall bundle of infection prevention strategies as identified by a facility's infection risk assessment,” said Michelle Farber, RN, 2012 President of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology.

The findings were presented June 5 at the APIC annual conference in San Antonio.