Universal decolonization proved to be the most effective. Patients were bathed daily using chlorhexidine antiseptic soap and their noses were swabbed twice daily with mupirocin antibiotic ointment.
The process reduced the number of patients harboring MRSA by 37% and all bloodstream infections decreased by 44%, says Septimus, who is also HCA's medical director of infection prevention and epidemiology.
The REDUCE MRSA study was released this week at IDWeek 2012, the annual meeting of infectious disease organizations.
Septimus says universal decolonization will be implemented at nearly all HCA-affiliated adult ICUs in early 2013, and that further studies planned for next year may encourage universal decolonization for all hospital in-patients.
He noted that the study involved mostly HCA community hospitals rather than academic institutions using hospital staff instead of specially trained researchers.