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Hospital-acquired infections alive and healthy

About 1.7 million health care-acquired infections occur annually in the United States, resulting in nearly 100,000 deaths, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2002 with recent confirmation of the numbers. One of every 20 hospitalized patients will contract an infection.

A recent simulation using the  Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center was conducted to help understand how infections spread from hospital to hospital then to test strategies to reduce infection rates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, a bacterial infection that’s resistant to most antibiotics.

The simulation demonstrated that a hospital’s decision to test patients for MRSA upon admission then isolate those who test positive — a process known as “contact isolation” — can help to reduce the prevalence of MRSA not only at that location but in other hospitals.

How well does your hospital do with contact isolation?  Are all patients tested for MRSA upon admission and then isolated if they test positive?