Using germ-killing soap and ointment on all intensive-care unit (ICU) patients can reduce bloodstream infections by up to 44 percent and meaningfully decrease the presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in these units, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports
A Department of Health and Human Services-funded study tested three MRSA prevention techniques. These techniques included routine care, providing germ-killing soap and ointment only to patients with MRSA, and providing germ-killing soap and ointment to all ICU patients. The study, the REDUCE MRSA trial, was performed from 2009 to 2011 and included 74 adult ICUs and over 74,000 patients. Researchers found that using germ-killing soap and ointment on all ICU patients was more effective than other methods. The study also found the use of germ-killing soap and ointment on all ICU patients was also effective for preventing infections caused by infections other than MRSA.
MRSA is resistant to many common antibiotics and can cause significant illness and death. It is more common among patients who have had medical care. Three-quarters of Staphylococcus aureus infections in hospital ICUs are considered methicillin-resistant. However, results from a CDC report showed that certain types of MRSA infections in hospitals dropped by 48 percent from 2005 through 2010.