MRSA Found On EMS Stethoscopes
The effort to combat transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) at hospitals may be getting a little easier thanks to findings released by the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). According to the study, a surprising new source of infection was discovered on the stethoscopes of emergency medical service (EMS) crews.
One third of stethoscopes worn by arriving EMS professionals (of 50) tested positive for MRSA, according to UMDNJ. The finding was a surprise. “I thought maybe one percent of stethoscopes would be infected,” said Dr. Mark Merlin, chair of the Mobile Intensive Care Unit Advisory Committee for the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, who led the study.
The search for the source of growth in reported MRSA infections at hospitals has focused on the medical centers but this data may point to ambulance crews, paramedics and EMTs as unintentional carriers. MRSA infections have been on the rise within the last decade and many blame hospitals, Merlin said. “But it may be acquired before hospitalization,” he added.
Some data from the study was startling. “Of the 50 stethoscopes, 16 had MRSA colonization and the same number couldn