Washington State Senate Takes on MRSA


MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, can cause dangerous, life-threatening invasive infections. Infections due to this bacteria cause up to 18,000 deaths a year.

The State of Washington’s Senate has reportedly approved a bill mandating that hospitals in the state will have to screen high-risk patients for MRSA. If the governor signs the bill, the hospitals will need to adopt the screening policy by January 1, 2010.

Factors that make a person “high-risk” include:

  • A current or recent hospitalization. This is particularly true if you have a hospital stay of more than 14 days. A 2007 report from the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology estimated that 46 out of every 1,000 people hospitalized are infected or colonized with MRSA.
  • Living in a long term care facility. MRSA is also prevalent in these facilities. Carriers of MRSA have the ability to spread it, even if they're not sick themselves.
  • Invasive devices. People who are on dialysis, are catheterized, or have feeding tubes or other invasive devices are at higher risk.
  • Recent antibiotic use. Treatment with fluoroquinolones (ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin or levofloxacin) or cephalosporin antibiotics can increase the risk of HA-MRSA.
  • Participating in contact sports. CA-MRSA has affected sports teams. The bacteria spread easily through cuts and abrasions and skin-to-skin contact.
  • Having a weakened immune system. People with weakened immune systems, such as those living with HIV/AIDS, are more likely to have severe CA-MRSA infections.
  • Living in crowded or unsanitary conditions. Outbreaks of CA-MRSA have occurred in military training camps and American and European prisons.
  • Association with health care workers. People who are in close contact with health care workers are at increased risk of serious staph infections.

Personal Preventive Measures From MRSA Include

Personal hygiene


* Shower daily
* Wash hands frequently
* Keep wounds covered
* Avoid contact with wound drainage

Environmental control

* Clean shared equipment (e.g., athletic equipment)
* Clean contaminated surfaces
* Use a barrier to bare skin when in contact with shared

Related Articles:

MRSA Infections Increasing in Children

MRSA: Strategy Shift Needed To Develop Effective Therapeutics

The Seattle Times
Center for Disease Control and Prevention


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