Multiresistant bacteria in Swedish hospitals

Information to health care workers

Multiresistant bacteria are still rare in Swedish hospitals. We have worked diligently for many years to avoid the introduction of multiresistant bacteria (MRB) into the Swedish health care system. Our hospital infection control units spend a fair amount of time in tracking single cases of for example MRSA, VRE and difficult-to-treat nosocomial strains of enterobacteriaceae to prevent the spread of these bacteria in the hospital environment. The frequency of MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is <1 %, as compared to >30 % in hospitals in many central and south European countries, and VRE is even less common - most hospitals have as yet not had a single case.

All patients who have been hospitalized (or regularly received treatment in a hospital) abroad 6 months prior to their admission to a Swedish hospital, are screened for multiresistant bacteria.

All hospital personnel (Swedish or foreign) who have worked in health care institutions abroad during the 6 months preceeding their taking active part in health care procedures in Swedish medical institutions, are screened for multiresistant bacteria.

Patients are screened for MRB in samples taken from the nose, throat, groin, feces and from KAD, wounds, drains and other (skin) lesions. The screens are performed immediately on admission to a ward. It does not affect the quality of the health care given, only the degree of isolation proceedures instituted.

Personnel are screened for MRB in samples taken from nose, throat, groin and any skin lesions (eczemas, wounds). Anyone who is to take active part in health care procedures must be healthy and be able to show negative screens for the above mentioned bacteria. The pertinent bacterial cultures should be performed no earlier than two weeks prior to the arrival in Sweden and the results of the screen procedure should be sent or brought as a standard laboratory culture reply signed by a consultant microbiologist. The alternative to a pre-visit screen is an immediate MRB-screen on arrival in the hospital but this may delay active participation by at least two days.