Using Special Soap To Fight Drug-Resistant Germs

Nursing homes in California and Illinois are washing patients with a special soap to battle antibiotic-resistant superbugs, according to an article on the NPR website.

The new strategy, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is being tested at 50 facilities. The antimicrobial soap chlorhexidine has been shown to reduce infections when patients bathe with it.

At least 2 million people in the U.S. become infected with an antibiotic-resistant bacteria every year. About 23,000 die, according to the CDC.

Some of the most common bacteria found in healthcare facilities are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). According to NPR, E.Coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae are two common germs that become resistant to last-resort antibiotics known as carbapenems.

While the bathing tests are being done only in nursing homes, the results affect hospitals, too, because nursing home patients are often sent back to hospitals because of infections. The program in Illinois also includes a campaign to promote handwashing and increased communication among hospitals about which patients carry the drug-resistant organisms.

According to earlier CleanLink reports, these realities support the efforts of environmental services staff to contain these often drug-resistant germs. In health facilities, cleaning areas exposed to MRSA becomes critical.

When MRSA skin infections occur, surfaces that are likely to contact the infections are cleaned and disinfected with detergent-based cleaners or EPA-registered disinfectants. This is effective at removing MRSA from the environment.