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To cut ICU infections, disinfect all patients

body sponge leaning against snow white towels

In hospital intensive care units, bathing all patients daily with an antimicrobial soap and applying antibiotic ointment in the nose reduced by 44 percent bloodstream infections caused by dangerous pathogens, including the drug-resistant bacteria MRSA.

Hospital intensive care units must be continually on guard to prevent infections because they can spread quickly, putting the sickest patients at the most risk. While vigilant hand-washing among hospital staff is critical, many infections also occur from bacteria in patients’ noses and on their skin.

“The results of this study are very important,” says Victoria Fraser, professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. “The risks of acquiring health-care associated infections and multidrug resistant organisms among critically ill patients remain a significant challenge. This study demonstrates new and cost-effective methods to protect patients and improve outcomes in ICUs.”

Full story at Futurity.

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Photo credit: Horia Varlan/Flickr

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