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Emerg Infect Dis. 2003 Feb;9(2):169-75.

Elimination of epidemic methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from a university hospital and district institutions, Finland.

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Turku University Central Hospital, Turku, Finland.


From August 1991 to October 1992, two successive outbreaks of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) occurred at a hospital in Finland. During and after these outbreaks, MRSA was diagnosed in 202 persons in our medical district; >100 cases involved epidemic MRSA. When control policies failed to stop the epidemic, more aggressive measures were taken, including continuous staff education, contact isolation for MRSA-positive patients, systematic screening for persons exposed to MRSA, cohort nursing of MRSA-positive and MRSA-exposed patients in epidemic situations, and perception of the 30 medical institutions in that district as one epidemiologic entity brought under surveillance and control of the infection control team of Turku University Hospital. Two major epidemic strains, as well as eight additional strains, were eliminated; we were also able to prevent nosocomial spread of other MRSA strains. Our data show that controlling MRSA is possible if strict measures are taken before the organism becomes endemic. Similar control policies may be successful for dealing with new strains of multiresistant bacteria, such as vancomycin-resistant strains of S. aureus.

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