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Implementation of contact precautions in nursing homes to prevent methicillm-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) transmission could cost time and effort and may have wide-ranging effects throughout multiple health facilities. Computational modeling could forecast the potential effects and guide policy making.
All hospitals and nursing homes in Orange County, California.
Our simulation model compared the following 3 contact precaution strategies: (1) no contact precautions applied to any nursing home residents, (2) contact precautions applied to those with clinically apparent MRSA infections, and (3) contact precautions applied to all known MRSA carriers as determined by MRSA screening performed by hospitals.
Our model demonstrated that contact precautions for patients with clinically apparent MRSA infections in nursing homes resulted in a median 0.4% (range, 0%–1.6%) relative decrease in MRSA prevalence in nursing homes (with 50% adherence) but had no effect on hospital MRSA prevalence, even 5 years after initiation. Implementation of contact precautions (with 50% adherence) in nursing homes for all known MRSA carriers was associated with a median 14.2% (range, 2.1%–21.8%) relative decrease in MRSA prevalence in nursing homes and a 2.3% decrease (range, 0%–7.1%) in hospitals 1 year after implementation. Benefits accrued over time and increased with increasing compliance.
Our modeling study demonstrated the substantial benefits of extending contact precautions in nursing homes from just those residents with clinically apparent infection to all MRSA carriers, which suggests the benefits of hospitals and nursing homes sharing and coordinating information on MRSA surveillance and carriage status.
Since hospitals in a region often share patients, an outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection in one hospital could affect other hospitals.
Using extensive data collected from Orange County (OC), California, we developed a detailed agent-based model to represent patient movement among all OC hospitals. Experiments simulated MRSA outbreaks in various wards, institutions, and regions. Sensitivity analysis varied lengths of stay, intraward transmission coefficients (β), MRSA loss rate, probability of patient transfer or readmission, and time to readmission.
Each simulated outbreak eventually affected all of the hospitals in the network, with effects depending on the outbreak size and location. Increasing MRSA prevalence at a single hospital (from 5% to 15%) resulted in a 2.9% average increase in relative prevalence at all other hospitals (ranging from no effect to 46.4%). Single-hospital intensive care unit outbreaks (modeled increase from 5% to 15%) caused a 1.4% average relative increase in all other OC hospitals (ranging from no effect to 12.7%).
MRSA outbreaks may rarely be confined to a single hospital but instead may affect all of the hospitals in a region. This suggests that prevention and control strategies and policies should account for the interconnectedness of health care facilities.
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