Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are of increasing importance to clinicians, public health agencies and governments. Prevention and control strategies must address sources in healthcare settings, the community and livestock. This document presents the conclusions of a European Consensus Conference on the role of screening and decolonisation in the control of MRSA infection. The conference was held in Rome on 5-6 March 2010 and was organised jointly by the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) and the International Society of Chemotherapy (ISC). In an environment where MRSA is endemic, universal or targeted screening of patients to detect colonisation was considered to be an essential pillar of any MRSA control programme, along with the option of decolonising carriers dependent on relative risk of infection, either to self or others, in a specific setting. Staff screening may be useful but is problematic as it needs to distinguish between transient carriage and longer-term colonisation. The consequences of identification of MRSA-positive staff may have important effects on morale and the ability to maintain staffing levels. The role of environmental contamination in MRSA infection is unclear, but screening may be helpful as an audit of hygiene procedures. In all situations, screening procedures and decolonisation carry a significant cost burden, the clinical value of which requires careful evaluation. European initiatives designed to provide further information on the cost/benefit value of particular strategies in the control of infection, including those involving MRSA, are in progress.
Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. and the International Society of Chemotherapy. All rights reserved.