Cone Health Infection Control Program Successfully Reduces MRSA Infections 56 Percent - Cone Health

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Published on June 27, 2013

Cone Health Infection Control Program Successfully Reduces MRSA Infections 56 Percent


Cone Health today announced it reduced the rate of hospital acquired MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infections by 56 percent. The results, published online in Journal of Infection Prevention on June 5, 2013, were seen after an infection prevention program that combined screening, hand hygiene education and pulsed xenon ultraviolet light room disinfection in patient rooms was put in place.

XenexMRSA is a bacterial infection that is becoming resistant to antibiotics. While 25 to 30 percent of people may carry the bacteria, it can become life threatening to those weakened by disease or surgery. “For years, hospitals have kept a sharp eye out for MRSA, urged staff to clean their hands and cleaned rooms as thoroughly as we could. But this doesn’t always work,” says Cone Health Executive Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Mary Jo Cagle. “Adding pulsed xenon ultraviolet light to the mix is an innovative approach, and one that we find works well.”

The study looked at MRSA infection rates during a six-month period from July 2011 to Jan. 2012 at The Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital, Wesley Long Hospital and Annie Penn Hospital. The rates of hospital acquired MRSA infections were monitored before and after the additional infection preventions were put into place. Pulsed xenon ultraviolet light was provided using room disinfection devices developed by Xenex Healthcare Services.

“This is all about creating a safer hospital for our patients and we experienced a highly significant reduction in MRSA cases during this time,” says Cone Health Director of Infection Prevention Kathleen Kohut. “We can’t say what each individual component of the MRSA campaign did, but adding Xenex’s pulsed xenon ultraviolet light disinfection system was obviously very significant.”

In this study, once the patient left, the room was thoroughly cleaned with traditional cleaning methods. Then the vacuum-cleaner sized Xenex device was brought in and used in three different areas of the room, adding a total of 10 minutes to the room cleaning time. The device flashes a broad spectrum, high intensity ultraviolet light which reaches high-touch surfaces and many areas out of reach of housekeepers. The germicidal light destroys the ability of pathogens -- such as MRSA – to reproduce.

"We've proven repeatedly that the Xenex system can reduce deadly pathogens in healthcare facilities but it's extremely rewarding for us to see another customer report fewer MRSA infections after investing in an infection prevention program which utilizes our device," said Xenex Chief Scientific Officer Mark Stibich. "Cone Health is setting a new bar for patient safety in North Carolina and we are proud to be part of their successful infection prevention program."  

The study’s citation: Sarah Simmons, Melissa Morgan, Teresa Hopkin, Kim Helsabeck, Julie Stachowiak, and Mark Stibich.  Impact of a multi-hospital intervention utilizing screening, hand hygiene education and pulsed xenon ultraviolet (PX-UV) on the rate of hospital associated methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection. Journal of Infection Prevention 1757177413490813 first published on June 5, 2013 as doi: 10.1177/1757177413490813.


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