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MRSA infections down at VA hospitals

The Baltimore Sun, April 28, 2011

The Veterans Administration reports that it has reduced MRSA infections by 50% in its intensive care units around the country during the first three years of a special initiative. MRSA, or methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can be life threatening, especially in the ICU,  and the results of the initiative, now in its fourth year, could help other hospitals design programs to cut down on the infections. "This is a landmark initiative for VA and healthcare in general," said Dr. Robert Petzel, VA's under secretary for health, in a statement. "No one should have to worry about acquiring an illness or infection from the place they trust to deliver their care. I am proud that VA is leading the way." The VA implemented four infection control practices, including patient screening, contact precautions for patients found to have MRSA and extra hand sanitizer stations and hygiene reminders. The initiative also involved changing the culture so everyone felt infection control was a personal responsibility.