Intensive Care Medicine

, Volume 31, Issue 8, pp 1051–1057 | Cite as

Successful long-term program for controlling methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in intensive care units

  • Jean-Christophe Lucet
  • Xavier Paoletti
  • Isabelle Lolom
  • Catherine Paugam-Burtz
  • Jean-Louis Trouillet
  • Jean-François Timsit
  • Claude Deblangy
  • Antoine Andremont
  • Bernard Regnier



To evaluate the effectiveness of screening strategy and contact precautions for patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Design and setting

Prospective observational cohort from 1 February 1995 to 31 December 2001 in three intensive care units (45 beds) in a French teaching hospital.


8,548 patients admitted to the three ICUs had nasal screening on ICU admission and weekly thereafter. Contact precautions were used in MRSA-positive patients. The following variables were collected: age, gender, severity score, length of stay, workload, and colonization pressure (percentage of patient-days with an MRSA to the number of patient-days in the unit). Alcohol-based handrub solution was introduced in July 2000. We compared the period before this (P1) with that thereafter (P2).


Of the 8,548 admitted patients 554 (6.5%) had MRSA at ICU admission, and 456 of the 7,515 (6.1%) exposed patients acquired MRSA. Acquisition incidence decreased from 7.0% in P1 to 2.8% in P2. Independent variables associated with MRSA acquisition were: age (adjusted odds ratio 1.013), severity score (1.047), length of ICU stay (1.015), colonization pressure (1.019), medical ICU (1.58), and P2 (0.49).


MRSA control in these ICUs characterized by a high prevalence of MRSA at admission was achieved via multiple factors, including screening, contact precautions, and use of alcoholic handrub solution. Our results after adjustment of risk factors for MRSA acquisition and the steady improvement in MRSA over several years strengthen these findings. MRSA spreading can be successfully controlled in ICUs with high colonization pressure.


Staphylococcus aureus Methicillin resistance Intensive care units Prevention and control 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Christophe Lucet
    • 1
  • Xavier Paoletti
    • 2
  • Isabelle Lolom
    • 1
  • Catherine Paugam-Burtz
    • 3
  • Jean-Louis Trouillet
    • 4
  • Jean-François Timsit
    • 5
  • Claude Deblangy
    • 1
  • Antoine Andremont
    • 6
  • Bernard Regnier
    • 5
  1. 1.Infection Control UnitBichat-Claude Bernard Teaching Hospital, Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de ParisParis Cedex 18France
  2. 2.Department of Biostatistics and EpidemiologyBichat-Claude Bernard Teaching Hospital, Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de ParisParis Cedex 18France
  3. 3.Surgical Intensive Care UnitBichat-Claude Bernard Teaching Hospital, Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de ParisParis Cedex 18France
  4. 4.Medical Intensive Care UnitBichat-Claude Bernard Teaching Hospital, Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de ParisParis Cedex 18France
  5. 5.Infectious Diseases Intensive Care UnitBichat-Claude Bernard Teaching Hospital, Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de ParisParis Cedex 18France
  6. 6.Bacteriology LaboratoryBichat-Claude Bernard Teaching Hospital, Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de ParisParis Cedex 18France

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