Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) is a very common germ that about one out of every three people has on their skin or in their nose. It doesn’t cause problems for most people, but can sometimes cause serious skin, wound or blood infections, or pneumonia.
These infections are typically treated with antibiotics. But some Staph strains, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are resistant to antibiotics and are therefore more difficult to treat.
What are we doing to prevent MRSA infections?
To prevent MRSA infections, our doctors, nurses and other health care providers:
Clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after caring for every patient
Carefully clean hospital rooms and medical equipment
Test patients in high-risk units (such as the intensive care, bone marrow transplantation and oncology units) by rubbing a cotton swab in their nostrils to see if they have MRSA
Use the following precautions when caring for patients with MRSA:
Patients with MRSA are given their own room or share a room with someone else who has MRSA.
Health care providers put on gloves and wear a gown over their clothing while taking care of patients with MRSA.
How are we doing?
Our interventions have led to a steady decline in healthcare-associated MRSA infections at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Our rates are better than the U.S. national benchmark, and we continue to work on decreasing infections.
What can patients do to help?
Patients and their families can also help to reduce the incidence of MRSA. Download this MRSA fact sheet to see what preventive measures you and your family can take.