The expanded use of active surveillance and greater use of barrier precautions has not reduced the transmission of two important antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospital settings, a US study has warned.

The prospective, randomised clinical trial, led by researchers at the Mayo Clinic, was conducted across 18 intensive care units in the US.

Researchers examined whether employing greater use of barrier precautions, specifically gloves and gowns, could reduce bacteria transmission in comparison with existing intensive care unit practices.

The researchers also assessed if actively screening patients for MRSA and vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) could reduce infections.

The results showed that there was no difference in the frequency of infection events in patients who received care according to the expanded interventions compared to those in the control group who did not.

Trained monitors observed that healthcare professionals in both the control and intervention groups practised proper hand hygiene but used gloves and gowns less often than required.

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By GlobalData

The study authors concluded that to substantially decrease the transmission of MRSA and VRE bacteria in healthcare settings, improved compliance with isolation precautions is required.

Effort should also be made to reduce the presence of the bacteria on body sites and to decrease environmental contamination.

The study was primarily funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.