Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a common and infectious disease that affects people in healthcare settings (Fitzgerald, Sturdevant, Mackie, Gill & Musser, 2001). The disease is caused by a bacteria strain referred as staphylococcus aureus that is hosted by humans under the skin or in the nose (Fitzgerald, Sturdevant, Mackie, Gill & Musser, 2001). In this regard, the transmission of an infectious disease is easy through contaminated air, surfaces, objects and humans within a healthcare setting. For example, patients and staff in hospitals are vulnerable to communicable diseases that emanate from handling of hospital equipments, wrong medications, surgeries or infections from medical procedures.
Incidences and prevalence
Incidences of MRSA depend on geographical location. For example, at least 90,000 incidences of MRSA are reported in the United States each year (Cobb, Harris, Lokey, McGill & Klove, 2003). Sadly, at least 21% of the incidences results to death. In a hospital setting, infections of MRSA range from 1 to 2 out of every 25 patients (Cobb, Harris, Lokey, McGill & Klove, 2003).
As indicated earlier, incidences and prevalence of MRSA is varied across countries. A global study on the prevalence of MRSA implies that the United States, Japan and European countries lead in MRSA incidences. In this regard, the high prevalence of the MRSA ranges between 20% and 60% (Cobb, Harris, Lokey, McGill & Klove, 2003). There are concerns that the prevalence of MRSA in Germany is beyond that of Netherlands and Scandinavian countries since the year 2000. The worldwide prevalence of MRSA has increased from 2% to 23% in the last 10 years (Cobb, Harris, Lokey, McGill & Klove, 2003).
Modes of transmission
MRSA is a communicable disease (Guilbeau & Fordham, 2010). Therefore, it is transmitted by having a direct contact with an infected object or patient. In other instances, some patients are described as carriers of the MRSA. The transmission is effected once a person comes into contact with an individual who has an active infection. From a clinical perspective, the transmission of MRSA is similar to bacterial colonization (Guilbeau & Fordham, 2010).
In this context, the infected person is viewed as a bacterial carrier and poses a greater danger and unknowingly exposing others to MRSA. Common transmission modes for the MRSA include skin contact, breathing infected air and touching contaminated objects. In a hospital setting, transmission through contaminated objects and surfaces occurs especially the bedside rails, toilet seats, towels, razors, staff uniforms and blood pressure cuffs (Guilbeau & Fordham, 2010). Nonetheless, transmission of MRSA lasts between 1 and 10 days before symptoms starts to appear (Guilbeau & Fordham, 2010).
Levels of prevention
There exist core and supplemental prevention strategies for MRSA (Guilbeau & Fordham, 2010). However, the basic principles are to decolonize MRSA-causing bacteria from being transferred among people and preventing the infection of the same in colonized individuals (Guilbeau & Fordham, 2010).
Core prevention strategies include hand hygiene practices and establishing contact precautions (Guilbeau & Fordham, 2010). In addition, this strategy encourages a medical follow-up for previously infected patients, as well as, immediate reporting of MRSA lab results. It is mandatory to educate healthcare providers about MRSA and respective prevention strategies.
On the other hand, supplemental prevention strategies include active surveillance testing, decolonization and chlorhexidine bathing (Guilbeau & Fordham, 2010). Active surveillance testing entails testing of patients within the hospital setting irrespective of the MRSA results status. The most common methods of active surveillance testing include culture and polymerase chain reaction. Decolonization strategy involves the use of systematic agents to reduce the MRSA colonization infection rate and respective risks. The use of chlorhexidine bathing is viewed as a universal practice in case of a high-risk prevalence of MRSA. In this case, all patients in the ICU populations are subjected to daily chlorhexidine bathing.
Cobb, W. S., Harris, J. B., Lokey, J. S., McGill, E. S., & Klove, K. L. (2003). Incisional herniorrhaphy with intraperitoneal composite mesh: a report of 95 cases. American Surgeon, 69(9), 784-787.
Fitzgerald, J. R., Sturdevant, D. E., Mackie, S. M., Gill, S. R., & Musser, J. M. (2001). Evolutionary genomics of Staphylococcus aureus: insights into the origin of methicillin-resistant strains and the toxic shock syndrome epidemic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98(15), 8821-8826.
Guilbeau, J. R., & Fordham, P. N. (2010). Evidence-Based Management and Treatment of Outpatient Community-Associated MRSA. The journal for nurse practitioners, 6(2), 140-145.