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Wearing Gloves And Gown In ICU May Protect Against MRSA Superbug, But Not VRE

Thu, 10/10/2013 - 9:51am
Michelle Castillo

Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines urge medical professionals to wear gowns and gloves when they are working with patients who are infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Now, a new study shows that if these simple requirements were spread to all patient's rooms in an intensive care unit (ICU), they may be able to provide some protection against at least one deadly superbug.

About one out of every 20 patients acquire an infection from a hospital that they didn't have when they were first admitted, according to the CDC. The health agency's director Dr. Tom Frieden previously said to CBSNews.com during a press conference that the most acute sources of antibiotic-resistant germs are hospitals.

One antibiotic-resistant bacteria that is often found in health care settings is methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). It can live harmlessly on the skin or in the nose, but if it infects a person's bloodstream, it can be deadly.

Hospital-linked invasive MRSA in particular infected more than 90,000 people across the U.S. and killed 20,000 people each year about a decade ago, the CDC reports. Since then, hospitals have made a bigger push to improve cleanliness. In 2011, there were just 60,000 people who were sickened, and only 10,000 died because of the bacteria resistant to methicillin antibiotics.

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