• Vol. 37 No. 10, 891–896
  • 15 October 2008

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus Control in Singapore – Moving Forward



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Singapore has a sophisticated healthcare system and is an important referral centre for Asia. Like much of the world, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is now endemic across its health system. MRSA infection has been associated with considerable attributable mortality, morbidity plus personal and public cost. Nosocomial infections are potentially preventable and need to be considered an unacceptable complication rather than a tolerable by-product of healthcare. Failure to introduce long-term sustainable infection control initiatives is not an option for responsible clinical leaders and managers. Control of MRSA transmission in Singapore is achievable but we need to accept the challenge and acknowledge that it will take perhaps a decade. It requires implementation of many varied infection control measures to be rolled out sequentially and across all health services. Our ambition, in Singapore, should be for hospitals to achieve an inpatient prevalence of <1% MRSA colonised patients. Identified transmission of MRSA should be regarded as a serious breech. Successful control will require extraordinary collaboration, support, resources, accountability and consistency of effort. Currently, efforts are evolving significantly and today, we have a good opportunity to embark on this difficult journey. Implementing infection control initiatives successfully over the next few years will save lives in the future.

The significance of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is indisputable. Its successful establishment and maintenance as the most important endemic healthcare associated infection (HCAI) results from its reservoir in up to 20% of inpatients and 16% of healthcare workers plus its ability to survive on surfaces for over 12 days.

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