A common bacteria, Methicillin Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), and its antibiotic resistant counterpart, Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) continue to plague patients who are undergoing major surgeries. MSSA is found on 25-30% of the population and is found typically in the warm and moist parts of the body.
When patients are immunocompromised and weakened following surgery, they are more vulnerable to bacterial infections from the bugs that they carry. Weakened by surgery, MSSA and MRSA often breach the body’s defences leading to surgical site infections.
MSSA inhabited in the nose has been typically treated with antibiotics) and the bacteria in the groin, armpit and anus areas are commonly treated with Chlorhexidine and/or alcohol wipes and baths. Studies have demonstrated that decolonizing the nose from bacteria such as MSSA and MRSA have resulted in significant reductions to the surgical site infection rate. A decolonization protocol is well worth implementing since the cost of an MSSA surgical site infection is greater than $34,000 per patient and the cost of an MRSA surgical site infection is over $100,000 per patient, representing a huge cost burden to health care providers.
The underestimated cost of surgical site infections, however, is the impact on the patient, their work and their families. Unfortunately, there are no good estimates to measure the impact on families for surgical site infections, making it difficult for health care administrators and policy makers to generate support for infection prevention therapies. Until there is greater visibility to the true costs of surgical site infections to our society, there will not be the adequate speed to development or adoption of important new technologies that can meaningfully reduce the rates of these hospital acquired infections.