Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 January 2015
To assess the impact of an institution-wide infection control education program on the rate of transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
A 472-bed, urban, university-affiliated hospital.
During the period March-May 2004, all hospital staff completed a mandatory infection control education program, including the receipt of hospital-specific MRSA data and case-based practice with additional precautions.
The rate of nosocomial MRSA acquisition was calculated as the number of cases of nosocomial MRSA acquisition per 100 days that a person with MRSA colonization or infection detected at admission is present in the hospital (“admission MRSA” exposure-days) for 3 time periods: June 2002-February 2003 (before the Toronto outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome [SARS]), June 2003-February 2004 (after the outbreak of SARS), and June 2004-February 2005 (after education). A case of nosocomial acquisition of MRSA colonization or infection represented a patient first identified as colonized or infected more than 72 hours after admission or at admission after a previous hospitalization.
The rate of nosocomial acquisition of MRSA colonization or infection was 8.8 cases per 100 admission MRSA exposure-days for the period before SARS, 3.8 cases per 100 admission MRSA exposure-days for the period after SARS (P < .001 for before SARS vs after SARS), and 1.9 cases per 100 admission MRSA exposure-days for the period after education (P = .02 for after education vs before education). The volume of alcohol-based handrub purchased was apparently stable, with 4,010 L during fiscal year 2003-2004 (April 2003-March 2004) compared with 3,780 L during fiscal year 2004—2005. The observed rate of compliance with hand washing did not change significantly (40.9% during education vs 44.2% after education; P = .23). The total number of patients screened for MRSA colonization was not different in the 3 periods.
The rate of nosocomial acquisition of MRSA colonization or infection decreased after SARS and was further reduced in association with a hospital-wide education program.