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In 2002, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH; Chicago, Illinois) convened the Chicago-Area Neonatal MRSA Working Group (CANMWG) to discuss and compare approaches aimed at control of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). To better understand these issues on a regional level, the CDPH and the Evanston Department of Health and Human Services (EDHHS; Evanston, Illinois) began an investigation.
Survey to collect demographic, clinical, microbiologic, and epidemiologic data on individual cases and clusters of MRSA infection; an additional survey collected data on infection control practices.
Level III NICUs at Chicago-area hospitals.
Neonates and healthcare workers associated with the level III NICUs.
From June 2001 through September 2002, the participating hospitals reported all clusters of MRSA infection in their respective level III NICUs to the CDPH and the EDHHS.
Thirteen clusters of MRSA infection were detected in level III NICUs, and 149 MRSA-positive infants were reported. Infection control surveys showed that hospitals took different approaches for controlling MRSA colonization and infection in NICUs.
The CANMWG developed recommendations for the prevention and control of MRSA colonization and infection in the NICU and agreed that recommendations should expand to include future data generated by further studies. Continuing partnerships between hospital infection control personnel and public health professionals will be crucial in honing appropriate guidelines for effective approaches to the management and control of MRSA colonization and infection in NICUs.