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BACKGROUND: The benefits of universal meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) admission screening, compared with screening targeted patient groups and the additional impact of discharge screening, are uncertain. AIMS: To quantify the impact of MRSA screening plus decolonization treatment on MRSA infection rates. To compare universal with targeted screening policies, and to evaluate the additional impact of screening and decolonization on discharge. METHODS: A stochastic, individual-based model of MRSA transmission was developed that included patient movements between general medical and intensive care unit (ICU) wards, and between the hospital and community, informed by 18 months of individual patient data from a 900-bed tertiary care hospital. We simulated the impact of universal and targeted [for ICU, acute care of the elderly (ACE) or readmitted patients] MRSA screening and decolonization policies, both on admission and discharge. FINDINGS: Universal admission screening plus decolonization resulted in 77% (95% confidence interval: 76-78) reduction in MRSA infections over 10 years. Screening only ACE specialty or ICU patients yielded 62% (61-63) and 66% (65-67) reductions, respectively. Targeted policies reduced the number of screens by up to 95% and courses of decolonization by 96%. In addition to screening on admission, screening on discharge had little impact, with a maximum 7% additional reduction in infection. CONCLUSIONS: Compared with universal screening, targeted screening substantially reduced the amount of screening and decolonization required to achieve only 12% lower reduction in infection. Targeted screening and decolonization could lower the risk of resistance emerging as well as offer a more efficient use of resources.

Original publication




Journal article


J Hosp Infect

Publication Date





33 - 44


Decolonization, Infection control, Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Modelling, Screening, Carrier State, Cross Infection, Diagnostic Tests, Routine, Disease Transmission, Infectious, Health Services Research, Humans, Infection Control, Mass Screening, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcal Infections