MRSA everywhere?

A study presented at ICAAC this week showed that MRSA was found in samples from ocean water and sand at seven public beaches on Puget Sound. Interestingly, according to press reports, the organisms resembled hospital associated strains. The clinical significance of this finding is not clear, but I think that this is just another example of how ubiquitous this organism has become. And given the widespread nature of its presence, does it make sense for us to attempt to control it in the hospital setting by culturing patients and isolating them? Patients represent only one, albeit important, source of pathogens in the hospital. It is likely that MRSA also enters the hospital through healthcare workers and students, visitors, and service and therapy animals. So it seems that the best options for MRSA control in the hospital revolve around driving environmental hygiene to high levels while minimizing hand and clothing contamination. The beauty of this approach is that any organism transmitted via direct or indirect contact will be simultaneously controlled.


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