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Loyola is proactive about taking care of your health. This begins the minute you step on campus. Any patient who is scheduled to be admitted to the hospital is first screened for the superbug MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
MRSA is a strain of bacteria that is resistant to antibiotics that are commonly used to treat staphylococcal infections. Most MRSA infections occur in hospitals and in other health-care settings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Officials at the CDC estimate that 79,000 people get MRSA infections from health-care facilities each year. Some of the infections can be life-threatening, especially those that occur in patients with surgical incisions or weakened immune systems.
Loyola has screened patients for MRSA since 2007. This has drastically cut down on infections. The patient is screened with a simple test. A nurse uses a swab to collect dead cells in the nose. That swab is sent off for DNA analysis and test results return within two hours. Those patients who are found to be carrying MRSA are quarantined and treated.
“This is, quite simply, the right thing to do. It is an important component of our overall plan to improve patient safety in all aspects of care,” said Paul Whelton, MB, MD, MSc, president and CEO of Loyola University Health System.
Concern about MRSA has been growing nationwide, especially after a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that the infections have become more widespread. The report also stated that infections are not just confined to health-care settings. Several schools in the Chicago area have been closed temporarily when students were found to have the infection.