Multi-drug Resistant and Extensively Drug Resistant Infections
What does multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant mean?
Bacteria (germs) that are multidrug-resistant (MDR) are not killed by many drugs that are used to treat infections. This means that there are fewer drugs to kill these germs. Extensively drug-resistant (XDR) germs are specific germs that are more difficult to treat than MDR germs.
MDR and XDR germs can be found all around us, including in water and soil. We can often carry these germs on our skin or inside our body without a problem. But these germs can cause many kinds of infections in people. They can cause infections in urinary tracts, lungs, blood, and surgery sites.
Who is most likely to get these types of infections?
Anyone can get a MDR infection. Most of these occur in elderly people or people who:
- Have other health problems.
- Have weak immune systems.
- Have a need to use antibiotics for a long time.
- Have frequent contact with the health care system.
- Live in a nursing home or assisted living place.
Can MDR and XDR infections be treated?
There are a few antibiotics that will kill these germs and stop the infections. Not all patients who have MDR germs need antibiotics. Sometimes the germs live on the skin and in the body without causing infection.
What safety measures are used in the University of Wisconsin Hospital building?
This Health Facts for You is about the rules at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and the clinics within the building. If you have a MDR infection, you will be placed in contact isolation precautions while you are in the hospital or these clinics if there are recent tests that show the MDR germ is on or in your body. If you have a XDR infection, you will be placed in contact precautions each time you come to the hospital or these clinics even if no recent tests have been done to show that the XDR germ is still on or in your body. This is to lessen the risk of spread to other patients.
What are some of the things that health care workers do to prevent the spread of these germs?
UW Health doctors, nurses, and other health care workers
- Clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol hand gel before and after they care for each patient.
- Use contact isolation precautions to prevent the spread of MDR and XDR germs from person to person. When these safety measures are used
- Patients are in private rooms.
- Health care workers wear a new gown and gloves in each patient’s room. They remove their gowns and gloves when they are ready to leave the room. Then they clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol hand gel.
- Patients are asked to stay in their rooms as much as possible. They should not go to common areas such as the gift shop or cafeteria. They can go to other areas for tests and treatment.
Are my family and friends allowed to visit?
Friends and family members should not visit if they have any signs of an illness that can be spread from person to person. These include a cough, sore throat, fever, rash, or diarrhea.
In most cases, you can have visitors. They will have to follow the same rules as the health care workers. This means that they will wear gowns and gloves to go into your room and be with you. They will remove their gowns and gloves when they are ready to leave your room. Then they will clean their hands with soap and water or alcohol hand gel.
What can I do to help prevent the spread of MDR germs?
- See if your doctors, nurses, and other health care workers wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol hand gel before and after they care for you. If you do not see them clean their hands, do not be afraid to ask them to do so.
- Only take medicine as prescribed by your doctor.
- Clean your hands often. Be sure to clean them after you use the bathroom and before you eat.
- Put on a clean robe (may use a second gown worn like a robe) and clean your hands before you leave your room. Keep the robe on while you are outside your room.
- Stay in your room except when you need to go for a test or procedure.
What do I need to do when I go home from the hospital?
When you are at home, you can return to your normal routine. There are a few things you should do to decrease the chance of getting a MDR or XDR infection again and spreading it to others.
- If you are given medicine to treat an infection, take it exactly as the doctor and pharmacist say. Be sure to take all of it.
- Clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol hand gel often. Be sure to clean them after you go to the bathroom and before you touch food. Also be sure to clean them before and after doing wound care.
- Let the people who live with you know that they should clean their hands often.
- Do not share personal items like towels or razors.
- Wash and dry your clothes and bed linens in the warmest temperatures written on the labels.
- Keep cuts and scrapes clean and bandaged until healed. Do not touch other people’s cuts or bandages.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions.
- If you think you have an infection when you come to the hospital or clinic, be sure to tell the health care workers that you have had a MDR infection before.
Management of Multidrug-Resistant Organisms in Healthcare Settings, 2006. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/hicpac/mdro/mdro_toc.html
Guidance for Control of Infections with Carbapenem-Resistant or Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae in Acute Care Facilities. MMWR March 20, 2009. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5810a4.htm
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 10/20/2011
Copyright © 10/10/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7259
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