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We controlled the spread of epidemic methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in an 884-bed veterans' facility by cohorting known active MRSA carriers and MRSA-infected patients on one nursing unit. Simultaneously, all previously-institutionalized transfers into the veterans' facility were screened with swab cultures for MRSA at the time of admission. All MRSA patients were maintained on contact (gown and glove) or strict isolation and treated aggressively with topical and enteral antibiotics with the assistance of the infectious disease consultant. The monthly incidence of new MRSA patients dropped from a maximum of 16 per month to three or less per month within six months of instituting these infection control measures. There were no further MRSA bacteremias after the establishment of the MRSA cohort in a single unit. Aggressive cohort management of known MRSA patients and screening of previously-institutionalized patients on admission for MRSA controlled epidemic MRSA in this large institution.
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