Op-ed: The hidden cost of MRSA

A universal policy to raise awareness of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections would be beneficial in halting the spread of this infection.

The effective implementation of a national consensus guideline is critical in its prevention, because an increase in MRSA transmission is increasing the cost of health care. This needs to be addressed. The public’s knowledge about MRSA is frequently poor, especially regarding the transmission and prevention of this infection. And, MRSA is becoming more widespread because individuals and institutions are not taking the necessary steps to avoid becoming infected with it or preventing its spread.

Although MRSA started out in health care settings, it can be both health care acquired and community acquired. The gap differentiating the two types of MRSA is closing, and it’s becoming more difficult to ascertain when and where a hospitalized patient became infected.

MRSA is on the rise worldwide, and infections are one of the primary reasons people seek health care services today. MRSA’s increase is related to the following: antibiotic use in animal feeds, increased use of antibiotics in humans for minor issues, insufficient training in hand hygiene and prevention for health care workers, and a lack of knowledge in the community as to how MRSA is spread.

A policy needs to be set up stating specific treatment guidelines for MRSA. Strict isolation and hand hygiene policies need to be enforced in health care and public facilities. The bar needs to be raised in educating the public and health care professionals on preventing MRSA infections. The overuse of antibiotics in animal feeds needs to be addressed as well as the overuse of antibiotics in humans.

Policies need to be set in place to help eliminate the spread of MRSA — halting its spread is critical to the public and health care world.

Leah Swanson is a registered nurse at Hartford Hospital who is studying for her master’s degree.

 

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