Impact of chlorhexidine bathing on methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureusincidence in an endemic chronic care setting: A randomized controlled trial

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HighlightsMethicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is endemic in chronic care and long-term acute care settings.Study tested if bathing with chlorhexidine washcloths can reduce methicillin-resistant S aureus incidence.Only 8 new methicillin-resistant S aureus cases identified over 12 months of the study.Chlorhexidine reduced incidence by 71%, but this was not statistically significant.We postulated that bathing with 2% chlorhexidine-impregnated antiseptic washcloths could reduce methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) incidence among chronic care patients compared with nonantiseptic bathing. A total of 122 patients on 3 hospital units were enrolled in a 12-month, cluster-randomized, open-label, controlled trial, with 8 patients becoming MRSA positive. The 2% chlorhexidine-impregnated antiseptic washcloths reduced incidence by 71% (0.1 vs 0.44 cases per 1,000 patient days) (P = .14; Fisher exact). The detected difference was not statistically significant because of a low number of observed events.

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