An investigation of MRSA from
the Burns Ward: the importance
of hand hygiene
Nirmaljt Kaur, Senior Specialist, Department of Microbiology,
R.M.L. PGIMER & Hospital, New Delhi-110001, India.
Introduction: MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus) deserves special attention in health care settings. It becomes difficult to treat this infection/eradicate its colonization once it has established. However, its spread can be controlled. An increase in MRSA isolation from the wound swabs of the burns patients over a period of four months prompted us to undertake the present investigation.
Material and Methods: Eleven HCWs (Health Care workers) were screened. Hand smears and nasal swabs were cultured and identified by standard microbiological methods. A re-orientation programme was arranged for all HCWs in the burns ward and the importance of standard work precautions, especially hand hygiene was highlighted. Swabs were taken from the same workers after six weeks.
Results: Out of eleven health care workers, seven were found to be MRSA carriers (63.6%). Swabs which were taken from the same workers after six weeks, revealed a decrease in the MRSA colonization in the hands by 75% and in the nose by 25%. Also, the number of MRSA isolations from the wound swabs of patients in the burns ward decreased from 35.3% to 13.9%.
Conclusion: The current study emphasizes the need for an early diagnosis of MRSA and for being vigilant so that if any outbreak of multidrug resistant organisms occurs in a ward/ ICU, steps to control them can be initiated at the earliest. It also highlights the importance of hand hygiene so that the hands that deliver care may not deliver germs.