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Soap, Swabs Slash Infection Rates by 44%

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, October 19, 2012

"We wanted to test this is a real-world situation. Most studies are done in academic medical centers with very tight inclusion and exclusion criteria," he says, adding that similar results would likely be applicable in nearly every hospital.

Septimus offered several reasons for why universal decolonization is not more widely used now.

"First, its effectiveness hadn't been proven before this study. Secondly there can be local side effects from applying the antibiotic solution, although those were very unusual. Third, we are monitoring this to make sure the bacteria don't develop resistance to the bathing," he says.

"There is a downside to the overexposure. We have to make sure that we do no harm long term. Right now in terms of the risk/benefit ratio the benefit to the patient has been overwhelming and the risk appears to be very small," he says.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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