OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of a rigorous search and destroy policy for controlling methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection or colonization. DESIGN: Hospital-based observational follow-up study. SETTING: Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, a 1,200-bed tertiary care center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. METHODS: Outbreak control was accomplished by the use of active surveillance cultures for persons at risk, by the preemptive isolation of patients at risk, and by the strict isolation of known MRSA carriers and the eradication of MRSA carriage. For unexpected cases of MRSA colonization or infection, patients placed in strict isolation or contact isolation and healthcare workers (HCWs) were screened. We collected data from 2000-2004. RESULTS: During the 5-year study period, 51,907 MRSA screening cultures were performed for 21,598 persons at risk (8,403 patients and 13,195 HCWs). By screening, it was determined that 123 (1.5%) of 8,403 patients and 31 (0.2%) of 13,195 HCWs were MRSA carriers. From the performance of clinical cultures, it was determined that 54 additional patients were MRSA carriers, resulting in a total of 177 patients carrying MRSA. Of the 177 patients carrying MRSA, 144 (81%) were primary patients, and 33 (19%) secondary patients. The average number of nosocomial transmissions was 6.7 per year. The cumulative incidence of MRSA colonization among this group of patients was 0.10 cases per 100 admissions. Of 156 cases of MRSA colonization, 44 (28%) were acquired in a foreign healthcare institution, and 45 (29%) were acquired in other Dutch hospitals, 22 (47%) of which were acquired in a single hospital in our region. There were 16 cases (10%) that occurred in a nursing home and another 16 cases (10%) that fulfilled our definition of community-acquired MRSA colonization; there were 4 cases (3%) categorized as "other" and 31 cases (20%) for which the source of MRSA acquisition remained unknown. The basic reproduction rate was 10-fold less for patients isolated on admission, compared with those who were not. During the 5-year study period, 5 episodes of MRSA bacteremia occurred in which 4 patients died, an incidence rate of 0.28 cases of infection per 100,000 patient-days per year. CONCLUSION: Our results show that, during a rigorous search and destroy policy, a low incidence of MRSA in our medical center was continuously observed and that this policy most likely contributed to a very low nosocomial transmission rate.

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doi.org/10.1086/605921, hdl.handle.net/1765/17674
Staphylococcus aureus: Resources
Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Vos, M., Behrendt, M., Melles, D., Mollema, F., de Groot, W., Parlevliet, G., … Verbrugh, H. (2009). 5 years of experience implementing a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus search and destroy policy at the largest university medical center in the Netherlands. Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, 30(10), 977–984. doi:10.1086/605921