06 January 2009

Reporting MRSA - a few places see results

Happy New Year, constant readers. I hope you had relaxing holidays; I myself have been pounding the keyboard, forging through a chapter. (I hope to post pieces at some point, but I need to talk to my editor about when is the right time in the process.)

While I was out, there were a few interesting developments on mandatory reporting of MRSA infections, which we have talked about here, among other posts.

First, the Canadian province of Ontario has launched an amazing website that reports MRSA rates for all its hospitals and allows you to search all its hospitals by name or map location. This is part of an initiative launched last May by the provincial Ministry of Health and Long-term Care that created mandatory reporting for eight indicators of patient safety: C. difficile, MRSA, VRE, standardized mortality rates, ventilator-associated pneumonia, central line infections, surgical site infections, and hand-hygiene compliance. C. diff reporting began in September; MRSA, VRE and mortality rates rolled out on Dec. 30; and the other four will be reported from April 30.

When I look at the very incomplete patchwork of reporting we have achieved state by state in this country, I find the Ontario achievement just stunning.

But, some good news from the US also: Over the holidays, Virginia made its first report of invasive MRSA infections, acting on an emergency order written by Gov. Timothy Kaine following the death of a teen named Ashton Bond in 2007. Strangely, there is no sign of the report on the website of the Virginia Department of Health (if anyone knows where it has been posted, please let me know).[UPDATE: The Virginia DOH very kindly got in touch to say that the numbers are drawn from a set of spreadsheets that are hosted here.] The Virginian-Pilot said:
There were 1,380 invasive MRSA cases reported from Dec. 1, 2007, through the end of this November. The rate for this region of Virginia was 15 per 100,000 people, slightly less than the state rate of 18.
People 60 and older had the highest rate of incidence, and blacks had higher rates than whites. ...
Only about 30 percent of the cases reported to the Virginia Health Department listed a known outcome. Of those, there were 35 deaths.
The data do not distinguish between whether MRSA was acquired in a hospital or in the community. The state also doesn't require reporting of the less serious forms of MRSA that involve skin and tissue infections. (Byline: Elizabeth Simpson)
I especially applaud this caution, attributed to Dr. Christopher Novak, an epidemiologist with the Virginia DOH:
"Just because you're reporting it doesn't mean it's under control."


Pearl0 said...

A nurse in London Ontario died of MRSA and it's been kept very hush, hush. I have cancer and a have a port placed in my chest. I'm nervous that a nurse at one of my hospitals passed from this very scary superbug. How can I keep myself and family safe from this bug. What can I as a patient make sure that the nurses and doctors do to keep the possibility away. I am already immune suppressed so I am so very concerned about this and I wish the Hospitals in London, Ontario would be more open about what happened to this nurse. There was one news story on this case and so far no more. I feel as a patient we should have more rights to information in regards to these and other bugs that are in our hospitals. Respectfully submitted, pearl0

Anonymous said...

Last week a nurse at one of our interconnected London hospitals, died from MRSA. It was reported once on A Channel news, that's it that's all once. It terrifies me that a nurse at the hospital I go to every three weeks for my chemotherepy has not mentioned anything further in regards to MRSA. I have a port in my chest so now I feel that I' gambling with my healtcare. I believe that as patients that receive chronic care at this hospital should ge given more information in regards to MRSA and how many cases are infecting the hospital patients and staff. How do I protect myself, I always watch that they wear gloves, but I can't see where the medications and needles and tubes come from. At times I see volunteers walking bags of chemo with needles and tubes attached throughout the chemo area, even at times through the patient waiting area. Is one cough or one slight bump on the needle or even the person carrying the meds to me that I have to watch for. I am very nervous to go back to my hospital given the fact that no further information has been shared. It's been a week, do we wait one month, two months, or six months before understanding where this nurse contracted this superbug. We don't even know where exactly she worked in the hospital. It's terrifyig to think that a nurse a women who goes from patient to patient has been killed by this superbug it's tragic. I am hopeful that no more infections have happened at the hospital, but I doubt it. Thanks for listening