NORCROSS, Ga. -- Although incidents of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other staph infections are growing at an alarming rate, recent surveys indicate that types of initial treatment methods vary greatly among sports teams and correctional facilities where the infection can spread easily.
MRSA can survive for weeks on objects such as sheets and towels, said Jack Doornbos, director of channel marketing, Regent Medical.(1) Contact with contaminated sheets and towels can pass the infection on. Thats one reason we are hearing of more reported MRSA cases in the community where use of antimicrobial, antiseptic skin cleaners could help in prevention and treatment, he explained. Use of antimicrobial, antiseptic skin cleansers, such as Regent Medicals Hibiclens® may result in a reduction in the incidents of such infections.
Random sample surveys conducted by Regent Medical at the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) annual meeting(2) and the National Conference on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC)(3) show a high level of concern among participants about MRSA and its potential spread. The surveys also reveal a wide range of treatment and prevention plans including soap, saline, disinfectants, antiseptics, alcohol hand sanitizers, and topical, oral and IV antibiotics. Many facilities are still developing protocols to effectively address MRSA.
Among 863 NATA respondents, 78 percent reported they are concerned about community-acquired MRSA and other staph infections affecting their athletes. NATA respondents indicated they use a variety of products for skin and hand hygiene for both athletes and athletic trainers.
We found that many of the products used by the respondents do not contain medical quality antimicrobial agents with residual activity, Doornbos reported. Residual activity occurs when the antimicrobial bonds with the skin to provide residual germ-killing action after washing, he said. Alcohol is a common hand antiseptic and is extremely effective for immediate kill. However, when alcohol dries, the germ-killing action stops. The next object touched will recontaminate the hand. Since these are not sterile environments, potentially harmful microbes may live on many surfaces, Doornbos explained.
Among NCCHC respondents, who represent correctional health services systems (prisons, jails and juvenile confinement facilities), 86 percent said that MRSA is routinely detected in their facility. In addition, 58 percent reported that if a turnkey protocol was available to prevent and treat MRSA they would implement it.
As MRSA becomes increasingly prevalent among the general public, concern amplifies among sports teams, in schools and correctional facilities and in other settings where there are locker rooms, close quarters, and sharing of towels, equipment and whirlpools, explains Douglas R. Smith, MD, a correctional medicine physician in Miami who claims to have successfully eliminated more than 700 cases of MRSA in the Florida prison system.(4) MRSA and Staphylococcus aureus are germs that live on the skin of healthy people and spread from person-to-person on contaminated hands, skin and surfaces. It becomes serious when it enters the body through scrapes and scratches and can then cause blood and joint infections and pneumonia, Smith continued.
A key to prevention of MRSA is keeping hands clean to prevent cross-contamination. Initial treatment should entail using a combination of antiseptics to treat MRSA topically, along with oral antibiotics as directed by medical staff if the infection is non-responsive or has progressed to a systemic state.
Antimicrobial, antiseptic skin cleaners can be part of an effective defense for preventing the spread of MRSA. Its important that we treat skin infections as skin infections initially, Smith added, such as through the use of antimicrobials and antiseptics. When the infection does not respond immediately or appears to be systemic, we combine topical application of Hibiclens® with inexpensive oral antibiotics orally, he said.
Regent Medicals antimicrobial, antiseptic product, Hibiclens, contains an active ingredient chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) that kills germs on contact and bonds to the skin to keep killing microorganisms even after washing. Additionally, Hibiclens has been proven to kill MRSA (in vitro) and other staph infections.(5) It can be used to help with prevention, as well as be added to a treatment plan prescribed by medical staff.
Regent Medical is developing materials to assist the sports team and correctional facility staff in educating and helping identify MRSA in early stages when infections can be treated in a less severe state. For information on available materials contact Regent Medical at www.Hibigeebies.com/sports or www.Hibigeebies.com/prisons, or call 1-800-805-0585, ext. 7941.
1. Neely AN, Maley MP. Survival of Enterococci and Staphlococci on Hospital Fabrics and Plastic. Journal of Clinical Microbiology: 38(2); Feb 2000; 724-726.
2. June 2005
3. October 2005
4. Smiths experience was with an off-label use of Hibiclens. Although Regent Medical believes that Hibiclens/antiseptics can be a part of protocol, the company never recommends off-label uses nor specifically endorses any particular protocol at this time.
5. Regent Medical Tests 05-0338-201 & 05-0521-201 and Regent Medical Study HIB 3-
Source: Regent Medical Ltd.