Decontamination

MRSA Staph Decomtamination

As seen on CBS news in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
1 Priority Environmental Services, Inc. provides professional, OSHA compliant decontamination programs to ensure employee and public safety at hospitals, jails, prisons, schools, athletic facilities, military barracks and other crowded living condition complexes.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacteria that can be harmful and life-threatening as evidenced by the news and media attention; however, it is extremely common and most people carry the bacteria in their nose and on their clothes and they are perfectly healthy (see Staph General Information).

Sensationalism

Though it's been coined a "Superbug", MRSA can be easily killed on hard surfaces and touch points but the problem in most public buildings and schools are the improper procedures used by the current maintenance and/or janitorial staff. When professional decontamination service is warranted, 1 Priority Environmental Services, Inc. is a competitive solution; however, in most cases we believe the current staff can adequately handle this task when properly trained.

MRSA attracts a great deal of attention because of reports highlighting the tragedies that the Superbug has caused. Personal hygiene and clean clothes are the best and first lines of fighting MRSA. However, hard surfaces and touch points should be properly disinfected in addition to the focus on cleanliness in order to reduce of the risk of spreading to others susceptible to the bacteria.

We suggest that schools and public facilities approach the issue with calm and reason, avoiding the overkill and sensationalism. We recommend that administrators be especially wary of commercial cleaning companies that promote and hype the necessity of an outside company as being the best solution to eradicating MRSA. For example, in the news video above, our technicians are outfitted per OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor) Universal Precautions for Bloodborne Pathogens for hospitals as requested by the news crew but this level of personal protection is not common for normal MRSA disinfections, contrary to the hype of most cleaning companies.

Solution

The overwhelming majority of medical professionals and environmental specialists believe that the best way to attack the touch-point disinfecting in most facilities is by adequate training of existing maintenance personnel. There are procedures important to the MRSA disinfecting process that your management and maintenance crews need to know and understand but it is safe and simple to handle in-house when you have the facts and know-how.

As a professional environmental services company, we offer an affordable and comprehensive MRSA Training Course at your facility for managers, maintenance and janitorial personnel that includes panic-free details and proper procedures for you to handle this yourselves. Following is a list of some of the topics and frequently ask questions covered in our 1/2 day hands-on course:

  • Are foggers the right solution?
  • Is it necessary to clean tops of lockers and under benches?
  • What Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered disinfectants are right for our situation?
  • What are dwell times?
  • How often is cleaning required?
  • How long does MRSA bacteria live on non-porous surfaces?
  • Are wipe-downs required?
  • Is PPE (Personal Protctive Equipment) ever recommended for our personnel?

For more information on our MRSA Training Course or about our professional decontamination services when needed, please contact us at (817) 595-0790 or online using the request below:


1 Priority. Your Solution.


More Decontamination Information...


Staph General Information

Staphylococcus aureus (commonly referred to as "Staph") is bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. Approximately 25% to 30% of the population is colonized (when bacteria are present, but not causing an infection) in the nose with Staph bacteria. Sometimes, Staph can cause an infection. Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States . Most of these skin infections are minor (such as pimples and boils) and can be treated without antibiotics (also known as antimicrobials or antibacterials).

However, Staph bacteria also can cause serious infections (such as surgical wound infections, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia). Patients with the disease get very sick, with symptoms that can include high fever, a drop in blood pressure and shortness of breath. It eats holes through lungs, releases toxins through the body and can cause kidney failure. It can kill within days and must be treated with specific antibiotics. In March, a 14-year-old Dallas boy died from a rare form of pneumonia caused by Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

In 1974, MRSA (commonly referred to as "MER'-suh") infections accounted for 2% of the total number of Staph infections; in 1995 it MRSA accounted for 22% and in 2004 MRSA infections were 63% of the total Staph infections which emphasizes how this bacteria has and continues to become more resistant to common antibiotics.

Bacteria causes "Staph" infections that are resistant to treatment with usual antibiotics including methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin and is referred to as a "Superbug".

MRSA infections that are acquired by persons who are otherwise healthy people and have not been recently (within the past year) hospitalized or had a medical procedure (such as dialysis, surgery, catheters) are known as CA-MRSA (Community-Associated) infections.

Data from a study in 2003, suggests that 12% of MRSA infections are community-associated.

CDC has investigated clusters of CA-MRSA skin infections among athletes, military recruits, children, Pacific Islanders, Alaskan Natives, Native Americans, men who have sex with men, and prisoners.

Factors that have been associated with the spread of MRSA skin infections include: close skin-to-skin contact, openings in the skin such as cuts or abrasions, contaminated items and surfaces, crowded living conditions, and poor hygiene.

In the case of MRSA, people who already have an MRSA infection or who carry the bacteria on their bodies but do not have symptoms (colonized) are the most common sources of transmission.

Regarding MRSA and schools, the medical and athletic communities in Texas have been warning schools about Staph infections for at least the last three years.



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Resource Information

The following information is posted for the public on the Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site regarding MRSA Staph Infections.

The CDC has received inquiries about infections with antibiotic-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (including methicillin-resistant S. aureus [MRSA]) among persons who have no apparent contact with the healthcare system. The following fact sheets address some of the most frequently asked questions per the CDC Web site:

Questions and Answers about Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Schools

Answers to commonly asked questions about preventing the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin infections.

CDC, along with parents and school officials, wants to do everything possible to protect students from MRSA skin infections. These are commonly asked questions that will help parents and school officials prevent the spread of MRSA in schools.

What type of infections does MRSA cause?
  • In the community most MRSA infections are skin infections that may appear as pustules or boils which often are red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. These skin infections commonly occur at sites of visible skin trauma, such as cuts and abrasions, and areas of the body covered by hair (e.g., back of neck, groin, buttock, armpit, beard area of men).
  • Almost all MRSA skin infections can be effectively treated by drainage of pus with or without antibiotics. More serious infections, such as pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or bone infections, are very rare in healthy people who get MRSA skin infections.

How is MRSA transmitted?
  • MRSA is usually transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact or contact with shared items or surfaces that have come into contact with someone else's infection (e.g., towels, used bandages).

In what settings do MRSA skin infections occur?
  • MRSA skin infections can occur anywhere.
  • Some settings have factors that make it easier for MRSA to be transmitted.
  • These factors, referred to as the 5 C's, are as follows: Crowding, frequent skin-to-skin Contact, Compromised skin (i.e., cuts or abrasions), Contaminated items and surfaces, and lack of Cleanliness.
  • Locations where the 5 C's are common include schools, dormitories, military barracks, households, correctional facilities, and daycare centers.

How do I protect myself from getting MRSA?
You can protect yourself by:
  • practicing good hygiene (e.g., keeping your hands clean by washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and showering immediately after participating in exercise);
  • covering skin trauma such as abrasions or cuts with a clean dry bandage until healed;
  • avoiding sharing personal items (e.g., towels, razors) that come into contact with your bare skin; and using a barrier (e.g., clothing or a towel) between your skin and shared equipment such as weight-training benches;
  • maintaining a clean environment by establishing cleaning procedures for frequently touched surfaces and surfaces that come into direct contact with people's skin.

Should schools close because of an MRSA infection?

  • The decision to close a school for any communicable disease should be made by school officials in consultation with local and/or state public health officials. However, in most cases, it is not necessary to close schools because of an MRSA infection in a student. It is important to note that MRSA transmission can be prevented by simple measures such as hand hygiene and covering infections.

Should the school be closed to be cleaned or disinfected when an MRSA infection occurs?
  • Covering infections will greatly reduce the risks of surfaces becoming contaminated with MRSA. In general it is not necessary to close schools to "disinfect" them when MRSA infections occur. MRSA skin infections are transmitted primarily by skin-to-skin contact and contact with surfaces that have come into contact with someone else's infection.
  • When MRSA skin infections occur, cleaning and disinfection should be performed on surfaces that are likely to contact uncovered or poorly covered infections.
  • Cleaning surfaces with detergent-based cleaners or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered disinfectants is effective at removing MRSA from the environment.
  • It is important to read the instruction labels on all cleaners to make sure they are used safely and appropriately.
  • Environmental cleaners and disinfectants should not be used to treat infections.
  • The EPA provides a list of EPA-registered products effective against MRSA: http://epa.gov/oppad001/chemregindex.htm

Should the entire school community be notified of every MRSA infection?

  • Usually, it should not be necessary to inform the entire school community about a single MRSA infection. When an MRSA infection occurs within the school population, the school nurse and school physician should determine, based on their medical judgment, whether some or all students, parents and staff should be notified. Consultation with the local public health authorities should be used to guide this decision.
  • Remember that Staphylococcus (Staph) bacteria, including MRSA, have been and remain a common cause of skin infections.

Should the school be notified that my child has an MRSA infection?
  • Consult with your school about its policy for notification of skin infections.

Should students with MRSA skin infections be excluded from attending school?

  • Unless directed by a physician, students with MRSA infections should not be excluded from attending school.
  • Exclusion from school should be reserved for those with wound drainage ("pus") that cannot be covered and contained with a clean, dry bandage and for those who cannot maintain good personal hygiene.
  • Students with active infections should be excluded from activities where skin-to-skin contact is likely to occur (e.g., sports) until their infections are healed.

I have an MRSA skin infection. How do I prevent spreading it to others?
  • Cover your wound. Keep wounds that are draining or have pus covered with clean, dry bandages until healed. Follow your healthcare provider's instructions on proper care of the wound. Pus from infected wounds can contain Staph, including MRSA, so keeping the infection covered will help prevent the spread to others. Bandages and tape can be discarded with the regular trash.
  • Clean your hands frequently. You, your family, and others in close contact should wash their hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after changing the bandage or touching the infected wound.
  • Do not share personal items. Avoid sharing personal items, such as towels, washcloths, razors, clothing, or uniforms, that may have had contact with the infected wound or bandage. Wash sheets, towels, and clothes that become soiled with water and laundry detergent. Use a dryer to dry clothes completely.

Practical Advice for Teachers
  • If you observe children with open draining wounds or infections, refer the child to the school nurse.
  • Enforce hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizers (if available) before eating and after using the bathroom.

Advice for School Health Personnel
  • Students with skin infections may need to be referred to a licensed health care provider for diagnosis and treatment. School health personnel should notify parents/guardians when possible skin infections are detected.
  • Use standard precautions (e.g., hand hygiene before and after contact, wearing gloves) when caring for nonintact skin or potential infections.
  • Use barriers such as gowns, masks and eye protection if splashing of body fluids is anticipated.


Community-Associated Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus

What is Staphylococcus aureus (Staph)?
Staphylococcus aureus, often referred to simply as "Staph," are bacteria commonly carried on the skin or in the nose of healthy people. Approximately 25% to 30% of the population is colonized (when bacteria are present, but not causing an infection) in the nose with Staph bacteria. Sometimes, Staph can cause an infection. Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States . Most of these skin infections are minor (such as pimples and boils) and can be treated without antibiotics (also known as antimicrobials or antibacterials). However, Staph bacteria also can cause serious infections (such as surgical wound infections, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia).

What is MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)?
Some Staph bacteria are resistant to antibiotics. MRSA is a type of Staph that is resistant to antibiotics called beta-lactams. Beta-lactam antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin and amoxicillin. While 25% to 30% of the population is colonized with Staph, approximately 1% is colonized with MRSA.

Who gets Staph or MRSA infections?
Staph infections, including MRSA, occur most frequently among persons in hospitals and healthcare facilities (such as nursing homes and dialysis centers) who have weakened immune systems. These healthcare-associated Staph infections include surgical wound infections, urinary tract infections, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia.

What is community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA)?
Staph and MRSA can also cause illness in persons outside of hospitals and healthcare facilities. MRSA infections that are acquired by persons who have not been recently (within the past year) hospitalized or had a medical procedure (such as dialysis, surgery, catheters) are know as CA-MRSA infections. Staph or MRSA infections in the community are usually manifested as skin infections, such as pimples and boils, and occur in otherwise healthy people.

How common are Staph and MRSA infections?

Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infection in the United States and are a common cause of pneumonia, surgical wound infections, and bloodstream infections. The majority of MRSA infections occur among patients in hospitals or other healthcare settings; however, it is becoming more common in the community setting. Data from a prospective study in 2003, suggests that 12% of clinical MRSA infections are community-associated, but this varies by geographic region and population.

What does a Staph or MRSA infection look like?
Staph bacteria, including MRSA, can cause skin infections that may look like a pimple or boil and can be red, swollen, painful, or have pus or other drainage. More serious infections may cause pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or surgical wound infections.

Are certain people at increased risk for community-associated Staph or MRSA infections?
CDC has investigated clusters of CA-MRSA skin infections among athletes, military recruits, children, Pacific Islanders, Alaskan Natives, Native Americans, men who have sex with men, and prisoners.

Factors that have been associated with the spread of MRSA skin infections include: close skin-to-skin contact, openings in the skin such as cuts or abrasions, contaminated items and surfaces, crowded living conditions, and poor hygiene.

How can I prevent Staph or MRSA skin infections?
Practice good hygiene:
  1. Keep your hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Keep cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage until healed.
  3. Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or bandages.
  4. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels or razors.

Are people who are positive for the human immune deficiency virus (HIV) at increased risk for MRSA? Should they be taking special precautions?

People with weakened immune systems, which include some patients with HIV infection, may be at risk for more severe illness if they get infected with MRSA. People with HIV should follow the same prevention measures as those without HIV to prevent Staph infections, including practice good hygiene, cover wounds (e.g., cuts or abrasions) with clean dry bandages, avoid sharing personal items such as towels and razors, and contact their doctor if they think they have an infection.

Can I get a Staph or MRSA infection at my health club?

In the outbreaks of MRSA, the environment has not played a significant role in the transmission of MRSA. MRSA is transmitted most frequently by direct skin-to-skin contact. You can protect yourself from infections by practicing good hygiene (e.g., keeping your hands clean by washing with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub and showering after working out); covering any open skin area such as abrasions or cuts with a clean dry bandage; avoiding sharing personal items such as towels or razors; using a barrier (e.g., clothing or a towel) between your skin and shared equipment; and wiping surfaces of equipment before and after use.

What should I do if I think I have a Staph or MRSA infection?
See your healthcare provider.

Are Staph and MRSA infections treatable?
Yes. Most Staph and MRSA infections are treatable with antibiotics. If you are given an antibiotic, take all of the doses, even if the infection is getting better, unless your doctor tells you to stop taking it. Do not share antibiotics with other people or save unfinished antibiotics to use at another time.

However, many Staph skin infections may be treated by draining the abscess or boil and may not require antibiotics. Drainage of skin boils or abscesses should only be done by a healthcare provider.

If after visiting your healthcare provider the infection is not getting better after a few days, contact them again. If other people you know or live with get the same infection tell them to go to their healthcare provider.

Is it possible that my Staph or MRSA skin infection will come back after it is cured?
Yes. It is possible to have a Staph or MRSA skin infection come back (recur) after it is cured. To prevent this from happening, follow your healthcare provider’s directions while you have the infection, and follow the prevention steps after the infection is gone.

If I have a Staph, or MRSA skin infection, what can I do to prevent others from getting infected?
You can prevent spreading Staph or MRSA skin infections to others by following these steps:
  1. Cover your wound. Keep wounds that are draining or have pus covered with clean, dry bandages. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on proper care of the wound. Pus from infected wounds can contain Staph and MRSA, so keeping the infection covered will help prevent the spread to others. Bandages or tape can be discarded with the regular trash.
  2. Clean your hands. You, your family, and others in close contact should wash their hands frequently with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after changing the bandage or touching the infected wound.
  3. Do not share personal items. Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, washcloths, razors, clothing, or uniforms that may have had contact with the infected wound or bandage. Wash sheets, towels, and clothes that become soiled with water and laundry detergent. Drying clothes in a hot dryer, rather than air-drying, also helps kill bacteria in clothes.
  4. Talk to your doctor. Tell any healthcare providers who treat you that you have or had a Staph or MRSA skin infection.


For more information:



Community-Associated MRSA

Questions and Answers about Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Schools


Other Biohazard/Viral/Staph Infection Decontamination Information