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Wednesday's Ask the Experts: MRSA cleaning

February 18, 2009
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Wednesday''s Ask the Experts question from a cleaning professional on the International Custodial Advisors Network(ICAN) "Ask the Experts"page: I work at a 1500 bed correctional institution. The healthcare department is all worried about MRSA. They came in with bleach and "Comet". I believe that our Quat cleaner is enough. Please let me know the best way to deal with MRSA in an institutional situation.
The answer:
A quat or bleach, used daily on commonly touched surfaces, will aid in the prevention of cross contamination. Abrasive cleansers can damage surfaces, making their cleaning and disinfection more difficult. I would avoid their use.
Again, we should stress that simple hand washing and proper personal hygiene are the best defenses against any infectious agent, including MRSA.
In a correction facility, which affords opportunity for lots of personal contact in crowded areas, you surely have a valid concern about MRSA, but to use an old expression, “Let’s not panic!” Staph is very common in the healthy community. It has been around for a long, long time and is carried by many people (25 -30% of the population have it in their nostrils with only 1% of these having MRSA). Attempting to wipe it out totally or even reduce the over all amount in the general population will be as successful as attempting to remove every fallen leaf from the Idaho forests every fall. An impossible task and highly unnecessary to boot!
Take 5 minutes and listen to the CDC podcast at: http://www2a.cdc.gov/podcasts/player.asp?f=6936
where you will have ... — Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Associate Editor
lekrafft@juno.com
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