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Bill to Reduce MRSA Infection Introduced to Congress

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has updated and reintroduced a package of legislation to combat the spread of the infection. The Worker Infection Protection Act would create a new Occupational, Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard to protect employees who are exposed to drug resistant infections, such as MRSA. The MRSA Infection Prevention and Patient Protection Act would create a MRSA prevention program for hospitals and would require hospitals to screen high-risk patients for the infection.

The CDC estimates nearly 19,000 Americans died in 2005 from MRSA infections, out of the 95,000 who contracted it and were treated for it in hospitals that year. It also says that 85 percent of those infections were acquired in the hospital or other health care settings.

In addition to strict hand hygiene, successful strategies for controlling MRSA include testing patients, isolating patients identified as having MRSA, using gowns, gloves and masks when treating them (contact precautions), and routine decontamination of patient rooms and operating rooms.

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