MRSA Screening and Monitoring

Bacteria that has become resistant to more than one class of antibiotics or that is determined to be easily spread and a significant risk to those in healthcare settings are referred to as Multi-drug Resistant Organisms (MDRO).

Acquiring an MDRO may or may not cause a disease.  Those individuals who do not acquire a disease but acquire the organism are known to be colonizers or carriers of the organism.  When an individual actually acquires disease from an MDRO, it can cause serious complications such as:

  • Infections of the soft skin and tissue
  • Infection of the blood stream
  • Infection of the bone, lungs, or other body sites

MDROs may require hospitalization or a longer hospitalization for those patients who acquire these organisms in the healthcare setting.

Because of the number of infections cause by MDROs seen in both the community and healthcare settings, Georgia Health Science Medical Center looks for the most prominent MDRO, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on admission to its intensive care units, where we have many at-risk patients.

Patients having high-risk surgery, those procedures requiring implanted devices or hardware (pace makers, defibrillators, orthopaedic and neurosurgery procedures), are also screened for MRSA prior to surgery.

Patients found to be positive with MRSA and/or other significant MDROs are placed on precautions to prevent the transmission of the organism to other at-risk patients and staff; to prevent patients identified as colonized from becoming infected with MRSA; and to aid in making the most appropriate medical decisions for patients identified with MRSA colonization; and for the best outcomes for our patients.

Patients who are found to be positive with MRSA are also identified in our internal information system by Hospital Epidemiology Department.  Whenever a patient with known MRSA comes to the hospital or medical office building special precautions will be initiated automatically.

Hand hygiene and transmission-based precautions are the best means for preventing the spread of MDROs.  Please see our graph on hand hygiene compliance.

Patients who are going to surgery and are colonizers of an MDRO receive antibiotics prior to surgery that will prevent the MDRO from causing disease at their surgical site and to promote the best possible outcome for the patient.  This and other measures are part of the Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP).  These measures are monitored by the Quality Management Department.  Please see our graphs on SCIP Core Measures.

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