Report: Not much known on MRSA in nursing homes

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The spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in nursing homes has gone largely unaddressed, according to a new scientific review. Despite nursing homes being prime breeding ground for the infection, researchers found that "much of the research effort around MRSA to date has focused primarily on hospitals," according to lead review author Carmel Hughes of Queen's University in Belfast, Ireland. 

One reason for the disparity between hospitals and nursing homes may be a simple matter of function, Hughes said. Hospitals have much more access to experts to infection control resources and staff, he noted. An expert from Johns Hopkins Medical Center said MRSA simply has not risen high enough on skilled nursing's priority list to receive a lot of attention. 

Common factors in nursing homes such as pressure sores, catheters, being on more than one medication and living in close proximity to other people all contribute highly to the risk of contracting MRSA, the review noted. 

"It is likely that an intervention for MRSA in nursing homes will consist of screening recently admitted residents to the nursing homes, hand washing and high standards of cleaning and decontamination," Hughes said. 

She and her colleagues sought randomized and controlled clinical trials centering on infection control interventions in skilled nursing facilities but reportedly found none. Her review of infection control in nursing homes appears in The Cochrane Library, an international organization that evaluates medical research. 
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