In September 1996, an outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization occurred in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of our hospital. After failing to control the outbreak by conventional methods we implemented an intranasal blanket use programme of mupirocin ointment from the beginning of November 1997. In the programme, patients who had been carrying MRSA received intranasal administration of the ointment three times daily for the first three days and consecutively three times weekly, while newly admitted patients and those who had not been colonized were prophylactically medicated three times weekly. This blanket administration was executed for one month. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization became undetectable in all but one intubated inpatient who had already been colonized before the start of the programme, and no new acquisitions occurred until the middle of January 1998, seven weeks after the termination of the blanket use programme. The rate of colonized patients in the unit also decreased. During and after the programme, neither an increase in minimum inhibitory concentration for the antibiotic nor apparent adverse reactions in any of the treated patients were observed. We concluded that this procedure is an effective method of controlling an MRSA outbreak in an NICU when the outbreak cannot be managed with conventional measures.
Copyright 2000 The Hospital Infection Society.