Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage is a proven risk factor for the development of staphylococcal surgical site infections, or SSIs. S. aureus infections are associated with increased length of hospital stays, increased mortality and higher costs of medical care. Nasal colonization rates with S. aureus have been reported to reach up to 30%, with 1% to 3% having methicillin-resistant organisms.
Nasal decolonization strategies have proven beneficial in reducing not only S. aureus colonization but also S. aureus SSIs. The most common nasal decolonization strategy is to administer mupirocin to the nares starting a few days before surgery. A consequence of mupirocin use, however, has been the development of mupirocin-resistant staphylococci. Because of concerns about resistance and whether patients can be relied upon to apply mupirocin before surgery, alternative approaches to nasal decolonization are being investigated.
This activity is supported by an educational grant from Merck & Co., Inc.
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