What can nurses do to protect vulnerable patients from Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) found in supermarket pork?
An article in ‘i’, newspaper, recently, stated that MRSA has been found in pork in two leading UK supermarkets (Bawden, 2016). The article describes how a new strain of the bacteria, CC398 had been found in 97 UK pork products distributed between three stores. Despite the contamination, the article reports that scientists consulted stated that the risk of humans catching MRSA from eating the products is very low, and Mark Woodhouse, a Professor of infectious disease at the University of Edinburgh suggested that, although there is no sign of a pandemic, continued surveillance is necessary.
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MRSA is killed by cooking, preventing it from causing infection by eating the pork products, but it can be passed by hygiene lapses when handling contaminated food. Individuals with weakened immune systems, such as the very young, very elderly, post-surgical, diabetic and cancer patients are particularly at risk, and given the source of the bacteria, most likely to become infected in this way within their own homes (Landers et al., 2013; Kadariya et al., 2014).
It is important that when the opportunity arises, nurses in contact with patients at risk of infection advise them how to protect themselves by implementing good hand and home hygiene, as suggested by Bloomfield, and Scott (2013). The patient’s adoption of this behaviour is contingent upon effective communication, a core nursing skill, in order to provide information which meets the patients learning needs and enables them to translate the information given into practice (Taché, J. and Carpentier, 2014).
Maurer and Smith (2013) also highlight the importance of community nurses, who because of their frequent contact with vulnerable patients, play an important role in communicating any signs of MRSA infection immediately to the patient’s multidisciplinary care team and therefore can make a considerable contribution to containing the spread of MRSA within the community.
Bawden, T., 2016. MRSA superbug found in pork at Asda and Sainsburys. ‘i 4th October, p. 8.
Kadariya, J., Smith, T.C. and Thapaliya, D., 2014. Staphylococcus aureus and staphylococcal food-borne disease: an ongoing challenge in public health. BioMed research international, 2014.
Landers, T., Abusalem, S., Coty, M.B. and Bingham, J., 2012. Patient-centered hand hygiene: the next step in infection prevention. American journal of infection control, 40(4), pp. S11-S17.
Maurer, F.A. and Smith, C.M., 2013. Community/public health nursing practice: Health for families and populations. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Taché, J. and Carpentier, B., 2014. Hygiene in the home kitchen: changes in behaviour and impact of key microbiological hazard control measures. Food Control, 35(1), pp.392-400.
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