Background/Purpose: Previous research has suggested that active surveillance and early initiation of contact isolation (ASI) can control the nosocomial spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), especially among intensive care unit (ICU) patients. However, these interventions have never been implemented in Taiwan. Methods: This study was conducted from September 2005 to October 2006 to evaluate the effect of ASI on the spread of MRSA in two medical centers in Taiwan with a high prevalence of MRSA. One ICU from each hospital was selected as a study site. In phase I (the first 6 months), only active surveillance was introduced. In phase II (the final 6 months), ASI for patients who had positive MRSA cultures was implemented. Results: The incidence of acquiring MRSA during ICU stay did not differ significantly during phases I and II in hospital A (p = 0.940) and hospital B (p = 0.810). The independent risk factors for acquiring MRSA in the ICU were length of stay and presence of respiratory tract diseases. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that, given the current resource limitations, ASI alone could not reduce MRSA transmission in two ICUs in Taiwan, where the MRSA prevalence was high.
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