Media Release - 15/12/09
Increased infection control precautions are being taken in a Christchurch Hospital surgical ward, following positive identification of MRSA in five patients.
None of the patients are unwell from the bacteria but all patients and staff from the ward are now being screened for MRSA. The ward will be closed to new admissions until all tests return a negative result.
MRSA is short for Methicillin- resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The bacteria Staphylococcus aureus is often found in the nose or on the skin of healthy people causing them no harm. Infections from this bacteria can be effectively treated with a range of antibiotics.
MRSA is however a type of Staphylococcus aureus that has become resistant to many of the antibiotics commonly used to treat an infection. While it is generally harmless for healthy people, it can cause infections that are hard to treat in people that are already unwell.
Christchurch Hospital’s Interim General Manager Ruth Barclay said, “Canterbury District Health Board hospitals are among an increasingly small number of hospitals in the world where MRSA is not present all the time and we want to keep it that way.”
“It is a difficult bug to control as it is ever present in the community but for the sake of our patients we work hard to keep it out of our hospitals,” she said.
“Good handwashing is the most powerful infection control precaution we can take against this bug and we will be emphasising that with staff, patients and visitors to the hospital.”