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Mountain Home, Arkansas

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Frank Bailey
Frank Bailey
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Are MRSA and VRE More Serious Threats Than Swine Flu

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Michael Bennett, a frequent contributor to my blogs submitted written testimony to the Maryland State Legislature Senate Finance Committee in 2008 supporting Senate Bill 102. In his testimony, Mr. Bennett cited a 2007 study published by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) that found over a million patients are infected with MRSA every year. A shocking 86% of these infections occurred in healthcare facilities. The mortality rate connected with these infections neared 10%. Simple math tells us that is 100,000 deaths a year from MRSA vs. 140 deaths from Swine Flu.

Another study in 2007 by theResources for the Future, cited by Mr. Bennett showed a two fold increase in MRSA infections of the 5-year period 1999-204.

Also in 2007 the CDC published a study in JAMA which showed that deaths from invasive MRSA sterile site infections alone now surpass deaths from AIDS.

According to Mr. Bennett, “Healthcare leadership has known for decades that isolating the entire reservoir of spread of these pathogens (MRSA and VRE) is an essential component of infection control, yet many healthcare leaders have chosen not to recommend such an approach.” I can’t help but wonder why. Aren’t we supposed to get better in hospitals…

Here in Arkansas we have a watered down bill (Acts 2007, No.845 codified as 20-9-1203) for reporting infections that is supposed to come into effect this year. Will it help stop the death and suffering…probably not. What we need is public outcry to implement the SHEA 2003 Guidelines in all our health care facilities. Ask your hospital if it follows the SHEA 2003 Guidelines.