Background: Surveillance examining the incidence of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) was conducted over 8 years beginning in 2001 in three health regions covering the northern half of Saskatchewan. The annual rate of individuals reported with CA-MRSA infection in these regions dramatically increased from 8.2 per 10,000 population in 2001 (range to 4.4-10.1 per 10,000) to 168.1 per 10,000 in 2006 (range 43.4-230.9 per 10,000). To address this issue, a team of community members, healthcare professionals, educators and research scientists formed a team called "the Northern Antibiotic Resistance Partnership" (NARP) to develop physician, patient, community, and school based educational materials in an attempt to limit the spread of CA-MRSA.
Methods: Posters, radio broadcasts, community slide presentations, physician treatment algorithms, patient pamphlets, and school educational programs Do Bugs Need Drugs http://www.dobugsneeddrugs.org and Germs Away http://www.germsaway.ca were provided to targeted northern communities experiencing high rates of infections.
Results: Following implementation of this program, the rates of MRSA infections in the targeted communities have decreased nearly two-fold (242.8 to 129.3 infections/10,000 population) from 2006 to 2008. Through pre-and post-educational intervention surveys, this decrease in MRSA infections coincided with an increase in knowledge related to appropriate antimicrobial usage and hand washing in these communities.
Conclusion: These educational materials are all freely available http://www.narp.ca and will hopefully aid in increasing awareness of the importance of proper antimicrobial usage and hygiene in diminishing the spread of S. aureus and other infectious diseases in other communities.