Research Shows Deadly Hospital "Super-Bugs" Can be Treated Quicker

HARROGATE, United Kingdom -- Deadly antibiotic-resistant 'super bugs' that can spread in hospitals, can be treated quicker -- and even prevented from developing -- with the help of hospital pharmacists according to new research launched today.

Research conducted at George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, found that in-patients who had methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) received treatment more than a day sooner when the hospital pharmacist was part of the clinical team. The delay in receiving follow-up care was reduced by two days.

MRSA is resistant to several antibiotics, including methicillin, and continues to be a significant problem in UK hospitals owing to its inclination to spread and the difficulty in treating established infections. During the time the bug goes untreated, patients who have it, and those who are carrying it, are at risk to themselves and to other patients.

MRSA lives on the skin and becomes a problem when it enters the body through a break in the skin. Hospitals are a perfect breeding ground for the bug with their prevalence of patients with open wounds and needle insertions. If a patient becomes infected with MRSA this may cause infection in a wound, septicemia, chest infections and, in severe cases, can be fatal.

Researcher Paul Mills says, "MRSA is an aggressive and deadly super-bug. It is vital that therapy for MRSA colonization is initiated quickly. Delays could result in more patients becoming colonized or infected, with potentially harmful results. Hospitals should recognize the role that pharmacists can play in helping to treat MRSA-colonized patients more efficiently."

The George Eliot Hospital now uses pharmacists to treat MRSA colonization as routine. MRSA is treated with antibiotic nasal ointments and antiseptic wound management materials. As well as diagnosing and prescribing medicine for the patient, the pharmacist in the study spent time explaining how to use the treatments.

Source: Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain

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