Patients can be a source of transmission of infectious bacteria to caregivers, to other patients and often, to themselves.
- Up to 30% of individuals carry Staphylococcus aureus, a potentially harmful bacterium.10
- Up to 7.2% of hospitalized patients can carry methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a strain of the bacteria resistant to commonly used antibiotics.11
- Patients' own bacteria cause the majority of catheter-related bloodstream infections and a large proportion of surgical-site infections.12,13
Health systems and healthcare facilities need to establish protocols to screen patients for harmful bacteria using diagnostic tests where available. If patients are found positive for harmful bacteria, then actions need to be taken by healthcare facilities and providers. The spread of infections can be reduced through awareness of outbreaks, appropriate treatment, isolation of patients with resistant microorganisms, adherence to recommended infection control practices and use of personal protective devices and equipment.14
10 Wertheim HF, Melles DC, Vos MC, et al. The role of nasal carriage in Staphylococcus aureus infections. Lancet Infect Dis. 2005;5(12):751–762.
11 Davis KA, Stewart JJ, Crouch HK, Florez CE, Hospenthal DR. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) nares colonization at hospital admission and its effect on subsequent MRSA infection. Clin Infect Dis. 2004;39(6):776–782.
12 Maki DG. Infections caused by intravascular devices used for infusion therapy: Pathogenesis, prevention, and management. In: Bisno AL, Waldvogel FA, eds. Infections Associated with Indwelling Medical Devices. 2nd ed. Washington, DC: American Society for Microbiology; 1994:151–212.
13 Wenzel RP. Minimizing surgical-site infections. N Engl J Med. 2010;362(1):75–77.
14 Siegel JD, Rhinehart E, Jackson M, Chiarello L, Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee. 2007 Guideline for Isolation Precautions: Preventing Transmission of Infectious Agents in Healthcare Settings. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and
Human Services; 2007.