Dr. Jorge Parada, director of infection prevention and control at Loyola University Medical Center and professor of infectious diseases medicine at the university's medical school, said since 2007, the university's medical center has been among the first hospitals in the nation to initiate several aggressive strategies to detect and reduce methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
"I was the head of the hospital-wide task force to implement hyper prevention of MRSA -- this required new equipment in the micro laboratory, new protocols for the nurses, special isolated beds and new IT [information technology] systems at a considerable investment of money by the hospital," Parada said in a statement.
Active screening and surveillance were initiated successfully in the neonatal unit and in the intensive care unit, Parada said.
The testing involves DNA analysis of a nasal swab sample at the time patients are admitted. The results are returned within 2 hours.
The decision to move to universal hospital screening grew out of the significant reduction in infection seen in these two areas, Parada said.
"Tens of thousands of MRSA screenings are performed each year. The hospital had a 7 percent to 8 percent rate for detected MRSA infection and after one year of universal screening, the hospital rate dropped by two-thirds, and has consistently maintained that decreased level," Parada said.
"Loyola's universal MRSA screenings have prevented more than 200 cases of MRSA since 2007. This means patients have gone home earlier."
At the third annual World MRSA Day and Global MRSA Summit at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine Oct. 1, in Chicago, Parada will accept an award on behalf of the hospital.