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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Universal screening for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus at hospital admission and nosocomial infection in surgical patients.

Harbarth S, Fankhauser C, Schrenzel J, et al. JAMA. 2008;299:1149-57.

Patients who are colonized with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are at risk for infections, particularly after undergoing surgery, and may also transmit the bacteria to other patients if hospital staff do not follow proper infection control practices. This study evaluated one widely advocated strategy for reducing MRSA infections: screening all patients for MRSA at admission. Although the hospital had a relatively high rate of MRSA colonization, the intervention did not reduce nosocomial MRSA infections. Despite these results, universal screening for MRSA is likely to become increasingly common in hospitals, as several states have passed legislation mandating this practice.