International MRSA Testing Week Awareness Campaign is Announced

MRSA Survivors Network, the patient and consumer advocate organization, is launching its new global awareness campaign International MRSA Testing Week, April 1-7,  an annual designated observance to raise awareness for active detection (screening) for MRSA to surgical and high-risk patients before admission to a healthcare facility. The global awareness week also draws attention for the urgent need for healthcare and community facilities to test frequently touched surfaces for MRSA and other pathogens and to effectively clean and decontaminate the environment. MRSA Survivors Network emphasizes that MRSA can live on surfaces for weeks, is spread by contact, and a simple nasal swab can save lives.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more Americans (nearly 20,000) die of invasive MRSA infections every year, more than from HIV/AIDS, but many believe that the true number is over 100,000 deaths occurring  from MRSA every year in the United States.

"MRSA, healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs) and antimicrobial resistance must become a top political priority worldwide," says Jeanine Thomas, founder of the MRSA Survivors Network. "In the United States many MRSA victims are becoming permanently disabled, bankrupt and homeless; it is so tragic because it is preventable."

The MRSA Survivors Networks says that more than 200 studies support the need for active detection and isolation (ADI) to control MRSA along with decolonizing MRSA positive patients and asks why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still does not strongly recommend this approach in their HICPAC guidelines in controlling multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) while another U.S. federal agency the VA Health Systems -- screens all of their patients since 2008.

While more than one-third of U.S. hospitals currently (that includes all of the VA healthcare facilities)  screen patients for MRSA, the MRSA Survivirs Network says that every  healthcare facility should implement active detection and isolation (ADI) to reduce MRSA infection rates and save lives.  Thomas says that healthcare facilities must implement a bundled-comprehensive approach to controlling MRSA colonization and infections; active detection and isolation, decolonization of carriers (MRSA positive patients), decontamination of frequently touched surfaces, strict adherence to hand hygiene and good stewardship/prudent use of antibiotics

"Too many lives are lost from preventable MRSA infections worldwide," saysThomas. "Antimicrobial resistance will continue to increase if we do not work hard to prevent MRSA and other infections such as C. difficile and VRE."

To assist healthcare facilities and community organizations to raise awareness during International MRSA Testing Week, April 1-7, MRSA Survivors Network is creating downloadable posters, web banners, a brochure and e-card which will be available on the MRSA Survivors Network website. A 15-second public service announcement (PSA) with Rob Stafford, anchor for NBC Chicago evening news and contributing correspondent with Dateline NBC, has been produced and can be seen on the MRSA Survivors Network website and YouTube channel at http://youtu.be/qA6OFlzsCwI .

MRSA Survivors Network operates the only MRSA Crisis Hotline in the United States (630 325-4354) for MRSA victims, their families and caregivers. MSN also provides wound care items directly to disadvantaged MRSA surgical site infection patients.

MRSA Survivors Network was the first patient/consumer nonprofit organization in the U.S. to raise the alarm about MRSA and healthcare-acquired infections beginning in 2002 and founded World MRSA Day, October 2 and MRSA Awareness Month, October in 2009 to raise awareness to the worldwide MRSA epidemic. Jeanine Thomas is a national spokesperson and conference speaker, and is a survivor of MRSA sepsis and C. difficile.

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