Evaluation of an intervention designed to decrease the rate of nosocomial methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection by encouraging decreased fluoroquinolone use

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2006 Feb;27(2):155-69. doi: 10.1086/500060. Epub 2006 Feb 8.


Objective: Society for Health Care Epidemiology guidelines recommend decreasing the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics in institutions where methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is endemic. We evaluated whether an intervention to limit fluoroquinolone use was associated with a lower rate of nosocomial MRSA infection and summarized changes in antibiotic use, changes in other variables potentially correlated with a lower rate of MRSA infection, and rates of nosocomial infections due to other pathogens.

Design: Single-center quasi-experimental design. A time series of nosocomial MRSA infections was measured at monthly intervals from July 2001 through June of 2004; there were 80 MRSA infections recorded. Segmented regression analysis (ie, quasi-Poisson generalized linear models) was used to evaluate variables possibly associated with the nosocomial MRSA infection rate.

Setting: An 87-bed Veterans Affairs teaching hospital with an extended-care facility.

Intervention: A physician-directed computer-generated intervention designed to limit the use of fluoroquinolone antibiotics was initiated, and institutional changes in antibiotic use and nosocomial MRSA infection rates were tracked.

Results: After the intervention, fluoroquinolone use decreased by approximately 34%, and levofloxacin use decreased by approximately 50%. Decreased fluoroquinolone use was offset by increased cephalosporin, piperacillin-tazobactam, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole use. The nosocomial MRSA infection rate decreased from 1.37 to 0.63 episodes per 1,000 patient-days after the study intervention (P=.02). Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus and Enterococcus infection rates also decreased. However, the rate of infection with gram-negative organisms increased. The rate of MRSA infection was positively correlated with levofloxacin use (P=.01) and azithromycin use (P=.08), whereas it was negatively correlated with summer season (P=.05). In a subsequent model, the rate of MRSA infection was negatively correlated with the study intervention (P=.04).

Conclusion: Reduction in the institutional use of fluoroquinolones may be associated with a lower nosocomial MRSA infection rate.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Fluoroquinolones / therapeutic use*
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Idaho
  • Infection Control / methods*
  • Methicillin Resistance*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / prevention & control*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects


  • Fluoroquinolones