A new study suggests that newborns should potentially be screened for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus before they are admitted from outside nurseries to a hospital's NICU. In the meta-analysis of 18 studies, published in Pediatrics, the authors found that 5.8% of "outborn" neonates were colonized with MRSA upon admission to the NICU, compared with just 0.2% of neonates born at the same hospital -- a 29-fold increase. Further, 6.1% of newborns became colonized with MRSA during their NICU stay. Across five studies with analyzable data, the authors also found that colonized newborns were 24.2 times more likely to develop a MRSA infection during their hospital stay, compared with noncolonized patients. The authors noted that the corresponding figure among adult ICU patients was 8.3, based on previous studies. They also point out that newborn patients' immunologic immaturity and the complexity of care needed in the majority of NICU patients appear to render this population vulnerable to hospital-acquired infection and underscore the importance of reducing the MRSA acquisition rate in the NICU and PICU. Read the abstract.

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