Preventing surgical-site infections in nasal carriers of Staphylococcus aureus.
Bode LGM., Kluytmans JAJW., Wertheim HFL., Bogaers D., Vandenbroucke-Grauls CMJE., Roosendaal R., Troelstra A., Box ATA., Voss A., van der Tweel I., van Belkum A., Verbrugh HA., Vos MC.
BACKGROUND: Nasal carriers of Staphylococcus aureus are at increased risk for health care-associated infections with this organism. Decolonization of nasal and extranasal sites on hospital admission may reduce this risk. METHODS: In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial, we assessed whether rapid identification of S. aureus nasal carriers by means of a real-time polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR) assay, followed by treatment with mupirocin nasal ointment and chlorhexidine soap, reduces the risk of hospital-associated S. aureus infection. RESULTS: From October 2005 through June 2007, a total of 6771 patients were screened on admission. A total of 1270 nasal swabs from 1251 patients were positive for S. aureus. We enrolled 917 of these patients in the intention-to-treat analysis, of whom 808 (88.1%) underwent a surgical procedure. All the S. aureus strains identified on PCR assay were susceptible to methicillin and mupirocin. The rate of S. aureus infection was 3.4% (17 of 504 patients) in the mupirocin-chlorhexidine group, as compared with 7.7% (32 of 413 patients) in the placebo group (relative risk of infection, 0.42; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.23 to 0.75). The effect of mupirocin-chlorhexidine treatment was most pronounced for deep surgical-site infections (relative risk, 0.21; 95% CI, 0.07 to 0.62). There was no significant difference in all-cause in-hospital mortality between the two groups. The time to the onset of nosocomial infection was shorter in the placebo group than in the mupirocin-chlorhexidine group (P=0.005). CONCLUSIONS: The number of surgical-site S. aureus infections acquired in the hospital can be reduced by rapid screening and decolonizing of nasal carriers of S. aureus on admission. (Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN56186788.)