Bloodstream infections cut by soap


Using germ-killing soap and ointment on all intensive-care unit (ICU) patients can reduce bloodstream infections by up to 44 percent and significantly reduces the presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in ICUs according to a new US Department of Health and Human Services-funded study.

The study tested three MRSA prevention strategies and found that using germ-killing soap and ointment on all ICU patients was more effective than other strategies.

"Patients in the ICU are already very sick, and the last thing they need to deal with is a preventable infection," said Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) director Carolyn Clancy.

"This research has the potential to influence clinical practice significantly and create a safer environment where patients can heal without harm."

The study, Reduce MRSA trial, is published in the New England Journal of Medicine and took place in two stages from 2009-2011. A total of 74 adult ICUs and 74,256 patients were part of the study, making it the largest study on this topic.

Researchers evaluated the effectiveness of three MRSA prevention practices: routine care, providing germ-killing soap and ointment only to patients with MRSA, and providing germ-killing soap and ointment to all ICU patients.

In addition to being effective at stopping the spread of MRSA in ICUs, the study found the use of germ-killing soap and ointment on all ICU patients was also effective for preventing infections caused by germs other than MRSA.

"CDC invested in these advances in order to protect patients from deadly drug-resistant infections," said CDC director Dr Tom Frieden. "We need to turn science into practical action for clinicians and hospitals. CDC is working to determine how the findings should inform CDC infection prevention recommendations."

bloodstream, soap, infection, germ, survey