Senator Larkin Will Push For Bill To Combat The Spread Of Mrsa In Hospitals

William J. Larkin, Jr.

December 14, 2007

Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) today announced his support for S.4346, legislation recently introduced in the State Senate to fight the proliferation of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin resistant enterococcus (VRE) infections in hospitals.

"MRSA and VRE are growing problems in the hospitals across our nation," said Senator Larkin. "However, we can try harder to address this serious problem with aggressive action. The new protocols that have been introduced in veterans hospitals, for example, have shown remarkable results. They are the same protocols that this bill would require of all hospitals in New York."

Some of these protocols include: Identification of colonized or infected patients through preliminary screening of each patient upon admission; Isolation and treatment of colonized or infected patients in an appropriate manner; and Strict training and adherence to employee personal hygiene guide- lines.

While the incidence of MRSA in the United States has increased to 60% of infections as of 2005, other countries, such as Denmark, have been able to restrain the incidence of such infections to less than 10% through screening, isolation, and diligent attention to staff hygiene.

In the Pittsburgh Medical Center, with the use of these procedures, incidence of MRSA in the ICU declined 92%. At the Pittsburgh Veterans Hospital surgical unit, incidence of MRSA declined from 2001 to 2006 by 65%. In their surgical ICU, incidence declined by 57%.

Each antibiotic resistant infection represents many thousands of dollars in extra health care costs plus many months of unnecessary suffering, and sometimes patients are lost to the infections.

"There is also the real concern that these bacteria will continue to proliferate and evolve into even more resistant strains that cannot be treated," added Larkin. "We should take every precaution now so that we don’t find ourselves in a situation reminiscent of the days before antibiotics were first discovered."