Medicinal soaps effective against deadly superbugs
Washington: Using germ-killing soap and ointment on all intensive-care unit (ICU) patients can reduce bloodstream infections by up to 44 percent and significantly reduce the presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in ICUs, a new study has found.
The Department of Health and Human Services-funded 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. This research has the potential to influence clinical practice significantly and create a safer environment where patients can heal without harm," said Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.
A multidisciplinary team from the University of California, Irvine, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) carried out the study.
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.
The study, REDUCE MRSA trial, was published in New England Journal of Medicine.