Determine whether daily bathing with chlorhexidine-based soap decreased methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) transmission and intensive care unit (ICU)-acquired S. aureus infection among ICU patients.
Prospective pre-post-intervention study with control unit.
A 1,250-bed tertiary care teaching hospital.
Medical and surgical ICU patients.
Active surveillance for MRSA colonization was performed in both ICUs. In June 2005, a chlorhexidine bathing protocol was implemented in the surgical ICU. Changes in S. aureus transmission and infection rate before and after implementation were analyzed using time-series methodology.
The intervention unit had a 20.68% decrease in MRSA acquisition after institution of the bathing protocol (12.64 cases per 1,000 patient-days at risk before the intervention vs 10.03 cases per 1,000 patient-days at risk after the intervention; β, −2.62 [95% confidence interval (CI), −5.19 to −0.04]; P = .046). There was no significant change in MRSA acquisition in the control ICU during the study period (10.97 cases per 1,000 patient-days at risk before June 2005 vs 11.33 cases per 1,000 patient-days at risk after June 2005; β, −11.10 [95% CI, −37.40 to 15.19]; P = .40). There was a 20.77% decrease in all S. aureus (including MRSA) acquisition in the intervention ICU from 2002 through 2007 (19.73 cases per 1,000 patient-days at risk before the intervention to 15.63 cases per 1,000 patient-days at risk after the intervention [95% CI, −7.25 to −0.95]; P = .012)]. The incidence of ICU-acquired MRSA infections decreased by 41.37% in the intervention ICU (1.96 infections per 1,000 patient-days at risk before the intervention vs 1.15 infections per 1,000 patient-days at risk after the intervention; P = .001).
Institution of daily chlorhexidine bathing in an ICU resulted in a decrease in the transmission of S. aureus, including MRSA. These data support the use of routine daily chlorhexidine baths to decrease rates of S. aureus transmission and infection.
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