MRSA is a highly antibiotic-resistant form of staph infection. Left untreated, it can cause infections throughout the body and even lead to death. However, many times it gets misdiagnosed, and doctors prescribe patients medications that will not cure here. Luckily, a new test on the market makes it faster to detect MRSA.The microbiology laboratories in hospitals are constantly looking for ways to improve the care that the patients staying there receive. Part of this is making sure that patients are properly diagnosed so that they can get the care and medications that they need. One company in the UK has created a battlefield-inspired test for MRSA – the BacLite Rapid MRSA test which is currently being used in hospitals through the UK and Ireland.
BacLite came from the UK’s Ministry of Defense. The idea behind the test was to be able to test for potential biological warfare pathogens quickly and accurately in the even of a terrorist attack. However, it is now being seen that it can have a second role helping hospitals diagnose incoming patients.
The evaluations done on the test show that it can get accurate results in about five hours, when previous microbiological tests took at least two days to get results, wasting valuable treatment time. A trial of over 1300 tests was performed, with results of 93.4% for sensitivity and 95.7% for sensitivity. This showed that doctors can have confidence when admitting patients that the results were correct, since the chances that a negative test result is correct was over 99%.
By being able to screen incoming patients for MRSA and get results the same day, hospitals can greatly affect the rate of infection. They can also get started immediately on the cultures that they need to determine the best course of treatment for the patient.
However, basic sanitary and hygiene procedures will still need to be followed once a patient is diagnosed to prevent the spread of MRSA amongst patients.
For hospital workers, great care should be used when handling patients with MRSA. This includes following proper hand washing procedures before and after examining patients. Make use of an alcohol based hand sanitizer as well. When visiting patients with active infections, protective garb like masks and gloves should be worn at all times to prevent the further spread of germs. Follow basic biohazard procedures for discarding any wound dressings and cleaning up any spills. Patient rooms should be disinfected daily, including bed linens, bathrooms, frequently used surfaces, and doorknobs and light switches.
For patients, following good hygiene can help stop the spread from yourself to other patients, visitors, and staff in the hospital. Follow hand washing procedures, and bathe with antibiotic soaps and shampoos. Be sure to follow all treatment instructions carefully, and finish all courses of antibiotics.
Being able to identify MRSA early on can help doctors and hospital staff starts the appropriate treatment protocols and isolation procedures. However, it is not a prevention for MRSA, and normal hospital procedures and hygiene should be followed at all times.