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(Methacillin- Resistant Staph Aureus)
Deborah Moore , MS, APRN, BC
VT PHS Regional Administrator
What is Methicillin-Resistant
Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)?
MRSA is a staph aureus infection that
has become resistant to the class of
antibiotics, such as Methicillin
frequently used to treat staph
Where Does the Name Come
The term Staphylococcus is derived
from the Greek expression staphyle
(bunch of grapes).
The term aureus was named due to
the organisms golden appearance
when viewed under the microscope.
Facts About MRSA
MRSA infection has been making
headlines all over the country.
MRSA has been a major concern in
hospital-based institutions for many
Now “Community acquired MRSA”
has become a health concern for
Facts About MRSA
MRSA has become a major concern
in correctional institutions.
100,000 people are hospitalized each
year with MRSA infections.
Facts About MRSA
Staph aureus bacteria are commonly
carried on the skin or in the noses of
healthy people.
MRSA frequently lives harmlessly on
skin surfaces of the mouth, genitalia
and rectum.
How “Tough” is MRSA?
Staphylococci can survive many
extreme environmental conditions.
The bacteria can be cultured from
dried clinical material after several
months, are relatively heat resistant,
and can tolerate high salt media.
So, “What Do we Do?”
You can not get rid of MRSA; you can
only control it.
Identifying MRSA
MRSA infections often present as mild
skin or soft tissue infections, such as
an abscess or boil that occurs
spontaneously and may evolve to
include multiple lesions.
Challenges of Early Identification
Inmates with MRSA skin infections
commonly complain of “an infected
pimple,” “an insect bite,” “a spider
bite,” or “a sore.”
MRSA infections cause minor
inflammation without pain.
Infected inmates may not seek
medical attention.
How is MRSA transmitted?
Virtually anything you touch can
transmit MRSA. It is transmitted from
person to person by:
Contaminated hands
Sharing towels, personal hygiene
items and equipment
Close contact sports
Sharing of IV drug paraphernalia
How is MRSA transmitted?
MRSA outbreaks have been linked to
poor inmate hygiene, the sharing of
contaminated personal items, and
participating in unsanitary tattooing
MRSA Isolation and Barrier
Intervention for MRSA Patients
Wearing gloves can help reduce
Placing patients in isolation is strongly
Moving MRSA patients to a separate
area maybe helpful.
Patients with serious infections should
be admitted to the infirmary or
appropriate in-patient facility.
Intervention for MRSA Patients
Personnel wear a clean non-sterile
gown when entering the room if:
They anticipate that their clothing will
have substantial contact with the patient.
Masks should be worn for aerosolproducing procedures.
Adequate hand hygiene is the
simplest, most effective infection
control measure for preventing and
containing MRSA infections.
Environmental Control
Environmental Control
Inmate housing areas and bathroom
facilities should be regularly cleaned
with an EPA-registered detergent
disinfectant according to the
manufacturer’s instructions.
Recreational equipment, such as
weight benches, should routinely be
wiped clean after use with a clean dry
Inmates should use barriers to bare
skin, such as a towel or clean shirt,
Environmental Control
Countertops and other treatable
surfaces should be cleaned routinely
after any contamination with blood or
body fluids with an appropriate
Laundry should be washed regularly
with a detergent using a hot water
cycle and then thoroughly dried.
Controlling MRSA:
Recognition, Intervention, Treatment
Principles and Management
Good Hygiene. Post “Wash your
Hands” signs everywhere (PHS Hand
Hygiene posters)
Gloves reduce hand contamination by
70 percent to 80 percent.
Catch and isolate MRSA early.
Standard universal precautions
Designed to reduce the risk of
transmission of bloodborne pathogens.
Reduce the transmission of pathogens
from moist body substances.
Apply these to all patients receiving
care, regardless of their diagnosis or
presumed infection status.
Reduce Antibiotic use.
Patients need to be educated that
antibiotics do not work on the
“common cold” or other viral
Provide appropriate treatment.
Education is one of the foundations in
the prevention and control of MRSA.
Prison Health Services has developed
MRSA Patient Information Fact
Sheets and MRSA Fact Sheets for
Correctional officers for all PHS sites.
Education is a key ingredient in the
strategy to control MRSA.
Disease management involves a
team effort on the part of the
correctional staff, medical staff and
the patient.