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MRSA study slashes deadly infections in sickest hospital patients

WHAT!   This is disgusting.  
I always thought hospitals and doctors offices used anti-bacterial soaps to begin with, but even if they do/did I guess it only works when staff members wash there hands with it, and keep up with cleaning infected areas.  Seeing how that is how infections are being transmitted from staff to patient-public.   shera~
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 Department of Health and Human Services-funded study released today tested three MRSA prevention strategies and found that using germ-killing soap and ointment on all ICU patients was more effective than other strategies.

Hand Sanitizers vs. Soap and Water

Antibacterial hand sanitizers are marketed to the public as an effective way to “wash one’s hands” when traditional soap and water are not available. These “waterless” products are particularly popular with parents of small children. Manufacturers of hand sanitizers claim that the sanitizers kill 99.9 percent of germs. Since you naturally use hand sanitizers to cleanse your hands, the assumption is that 99.9 percent of harmful germs are killed by the sanitizers. Recent research suggests that this is not the case.

“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 QualityExternal Web Site Icon (AHRQ) Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D.  “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, was published in today’s New England Journal of Medicine and took place in two stages from 2009-2011. A multidisciplinary team from the University of California, IrvineExternal Web Site IconHarvard Pilgrim Health Care InstituteExternal Web Site IconHospital Corporation of AmericaExternal Web Site Icon (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.
“CDC invested in these advances in order to protect patients from deadly drug-resistant infections,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “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.”   MORE

Does soap kill germs?

 | related questions
Originally Published: May 4, 2001 – Last Updated / Reviewed On: December 8, 2011

Dear Alice,
I remember reading somewhere a couple years ago that hand or bath soap does not KILL germs or sterilize our hands. Rather, it helps loosen dirt and grime, and it makes the skin more slippery so that dirt and germs rinse off more easily with water. It makes sense to me, but my daughter who is studying for a medical career said I was off my rocker. I am getting older, but I’m sure I didn’t fall out of my chair onto my head — but instead read that in a health newsletter somewhere. What’s the skinny? Can my daughter trust me and what I read (in this case, at least), or should I throw in the towel (for 100 percent memory recall)?
— Slippery Soap
Dear Slippery Soap,
You are on firm footing when it comes to one aspect of hand hygiene. Regular household soap or cleanser does not kill germs — rather, it suspends (or lifts) them off the skin surface, allowing the microscopic critters to be rinsed down the drain.
Antimicrobial or antibacterial soap, the type that your daughter will use before she performs surgery or patient exams, does actually kill bacteria and other microorganisms, and can sometimes inhibit their future growth. It’s also possible to buy antibacterial soap and other applications for home use, but some experts worry that using antimicrobial products may create stronger, more resistant strains of bacteria. When it comes to lowering the risk for spreading infection, an article by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that regular soap is adequate for the general public to use for this purpose, and that “super soap” can be saved for those working in health care, child care, or food preparation settings.

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