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Political Versus Epidemiological Correctness

  • Barry M. Farr (a1)

Extract

In the March issue of the journal, the Joint SHEA and APIC Task Force indicates that the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) support the use of active detection and isolation (ADI) for controlling nosocomial infections due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) “in appropriate circumstances, as recommended in previously published guidelines”1(p250) (those published by SHEA and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee [HICPAC]), but that SHEA and APIC oppose the use of legislation for mandating any infection control approach, including this one as tried in 2006 in Illinois and Maryland.

Both supporters and opponents of controlling MRSA and VRE with ADI probably will agree that legislation is not the optimal way to control nosocomial infections in general, but this position statement undoubtedly will please the latter more than it does the former because the SHEA/APIC Task Force argues that ADI is not ready for routine use throughout all healthcare facilities, directly opposing the position of the original SHEA guideline. As an author of that SHEA guideline, I would like to comment. First, the new position seems politically correct (since most infection control professionals have not yet bothered using ADI to control MRSA and VRE), but many of the planks of the SHEA/APIC Task Force position statement are misleading.

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Corresponding author

Department of Medicine, PO Box 800473, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA 22908 (bmf@virginia.edu)

References

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