The Impact of a Universal Decolonization Protocol on Hospital-Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in a Burn Population

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Hospital-acquired (HA) methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a leading cause of HA infections and a significant concern for burn centers. The use of 2% chlorhexidine-impregnated wipes and nasal mupirocin significantly decreases the rate of HA-MRSA in adult intensive care units. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of universal decolonization on the rate of MRSA conversion in an American Burn Association verified adult and pediatric burn center. Universal decolonization protocol consisting of daily chlorhexidine baths and a 5-day course of nasal mupirocin was implemented in the burn unit. MRSA screening both on admission and weekly and contact isolation practices were in place in pre-decolonization and post-decolonization periods. Patient data were analyzed 2 years before and 1 year after implementation of the protocol. The incidence rate of MRSA was significantly decreased after the implementation of the decolonization protocol (11.8 vs 1.0 per 1000 patient days, P < .001). Secondary to the loss of the skin barrier and suppressed immune systems, burn patients are at greater risk for invasive infection leading to severe complications and death. The prevalence of HA-MRSA at our institution’s burn center was significantly decreased after the implementation of a universal decolonization protocol.

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