oa Professional Nursing Today - Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) : what the nurse should know : infection control
Methicillin resistance is clinically important, because a single genetic element confers resistance to the β-lactam antibiotics, which include penicillins, cephalosporins and carbapenems. For the past 20 to 30 years, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains have been present in hospitals and have become a major cause of hospital-acquired infection. Comprehensive MRSA-control programmes, that include screening cultures to detect patients colonised with MRSA, use of contact precautions, appropriate hand hygiene and automatic alerts of readmission of colonised patients, have reported success in controlling or reducing transmission of MRSA and also reducing acquisition of MRSA in high-risk units in hospitals. Community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) emerged worldwide in the late 1990s. Although such infections are rare at present, they usually affect young, previously healthy people and appear to be associated with increased risk of transmission, complications and hospitalisation.
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