MRSA: FAQ

STEGH takes your care and your safety very seriously and we are extremely committed to transparency. On a quarterly basis we will be reporting our infection rates on our website.

What is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)?

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of bacteria that is resistant to certain or all types of the beta-lactam classes of antibiotics such as penicillins, penicillinase-resistant penicillins (e.g. cloxacillin) and cephalosporins. MRSA are strains of S. aureus that have an MIC to oxacillin of ≥ 4 mcg/ml. or contain the mecA gene coding for penicillin binding protein 2a (PBP 2a).

What are the risk factors for MRSA?

Risk factors for MRSA acquisition include invasive procedures, prior treatment with antibiotics, prolonged hospital stay, stay in an intensive care or burn unit, surgical wound infection and close proximity to a colonized person. MRSA can also be transmitted from mother to child through breast milk.

How is MRSA transmitted?

The single most important mode of transmission of MRSA in a health care setting is via transiently colonized hands of health care workers who acquire it from contact with colonized or infected patients, or after handling contaminated material or equipment. The unrecognized colonized patient presents a particular risk for transmission to other patients.

How are MRSA and VRE diagnosed?

STEGH screens (obtains specimens) from all patients who meet set criteria (patients who are at risk of carrying or known to carry MRSA or VRE) in accordance to the best practice document established by the Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee (PIDAC) upon admission to our hospital. These specimens are sent to the lab for testing.

How are MRSA and VRE treated?

Treatment depends on how sick patients are with the disease. If a patient develops an MRSA or VRE infection, the physician will review the organism and order appropriate antibiotics to treat the infection. If a patient is identified to be positive for MRSA or VRE but does not have an infection, they will be placed under isolation to prevent the spread.

What precautions are used to prevent the spread of both MRSA and VRE in the hospital?

STEGH has Infection Prevention and Control policies and procedures that align with the PIDAC best practice document that provide the guiding principles for all patient interaction. Those principles include; Routine practice, Hand hygiene at POC, Additional isolation precautions to be put in place with any patient identified with MRSA and VRE. Additional housekeeping practices are put in place to ensure the environment is cleaned appropriately.

What STEGH is doing to improve patient safety?

STEGH has implemented the ‘Just Clean Your Hands’ hand hygiene program. We audit our compliance with this program and share the results with staff so that we can identify any areas of improvement. STEGH audits our practices for isolation precautions and environmental cleaning to identify any areas for improvement. STEGH ensures patient equipment is dedicated to an isolation room or if needed to be removed is cleaned in accordance to best practice to prevent spread.