Over a 32-month period, 153 Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals in the United States were studied to monitor a drop in the rate of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. Rates had been relatively unchanged in the two years prior to the study.

The four-year strategy beginning in 2007 involved screening with nasal swabs, isolating anyone who tested positive, and requiring extra safety measures for staff who came in contact with those patients.

The result was a 62 percent drop in MRSA infections in intensive care units, and a 45 percent stop in surgical and rehab units.

The VA hospitals' effort to reduce the spread of deadly bacterial infections counters the popular notion that "infections are an unavoidable cost of doing business."

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Written by Rob Brown