Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria: Infection Control
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a growing problem among hospitals and healthcare facilities. Antibiotic-resistance occurs when infections are treated with antibiotics, and a small portion of the bacteria have genetic mutations that randomly cause them to be resistant to, or unable to be killed by, the antibiotics. Because bacteria multiply at an exponential rate, this small group can transform into a serious bacterial infection that is resistant to the antibiotic originally prescribed to treat it. Left untreated, these kinds of infections can be life-threatening, especially in hospitals, nursing homes, or other healthcare settings in which patients are already sick or undergoing risky operations.
The three types of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are of most concern in hospitals are Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VISA), and Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE).
VISA is a strain of staph bacteria that has developed resistance to the antibiotic Vancomycin. It is the least prevalent type of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and it is spread through direct contact. This means it can be transferred from the hands of a healthcare worker to a sick patient, or simply from touching a doorknob that an infected person touched.
VRE is a strain of enterococci bacteria that has developed resistance to Vancomycin. Enterococci are bacteria that are commonly found in human intestines. Enterococci infections typically occur in hospital patients. Similar to VISA, VRE is spread through direct contact.
MRSA is a strain of staph bacteria that has developed resistance to the antibiotic Methicillin. MRSA is also spread through direct contact.
Because these kinds of bacterial infections are more difficult to treat, and therefore more life-threatening, infection control procedures are critical. Regular disinfecting of high-touch surfaces is essential to preventing the spread of disease-causing bacteria and keeping patients healthy. Disinfectants with claims against MRSA, VRE, and VISA should be used.
For more tips on disinfecting procedures, as well as a list of disinfectants with claims against MRSA, VRE, and VISA, check out Multi-Clean’s Infection Control Webpage.