Learning About MDRO Infections

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What is an MDRO infection?

MDRO stands for multidrug-resistant organism. MDRO germs, called bacteria, include MRSA, VRE, ESBL, CRE, and KPC. These can all cause infections. But they can't be killed by many of the antibiotics that doctors use to treat infections. This makes them harder to treat.

An infection with MDRO germs can be in any part of the body, including blood, organs, skin, and sites where surgery was done.

MDRO germs can be spread from one person to another through personal contact or from something that has the germs on it. It is commonly spread from the hands of someone who has an MDRO infection.

If you have an MDRO infection in the hospital, the hospital staff will work hard to:

  • Treat your infection.
  • Prevent the spread of the infection to others.

How is an MDRO infection treated?

  • If your doctor thinks you are infected with an MDRO, he or she will send a sample of your infected skin tissue, blood, or urine to a lab. The lab will grow the germs. Then they will test it to see which antibiotics can kill them. Then your doctor may:
    • Use these antibiotics to treat your infection.
    • Clean out or drain the infection.
    • Treat your underlying illness.

How can you prevent the spread of an MDRO infection?

You, your doctor, the hospital staff, and your visitors all play a part in keeping the infection from spreading to others.

  • Isolation. Your doctor may want to keep you away from other people in the hospital. You may be in a special hospital room, called an isolation room. Visitors may be limited to prevent the MDRO germs from being carried outside your room. Children, pregnant women, people who are ill, and some others might not be allowed into the room, as they can be more likely to get a serious infection.
  • Hand-washing. Everyone who comes in the room will need to wash their hands with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, to help stop the germs from spreading. When washing:
    • Wash your hands with running water and soap.
    • Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds.
    • Pay special attention to your wrists, the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
    • Don't touch the faucet with your hand. Use a paper towel to turn off the water.
  • Gloves and gown. Visitors and caregivers may have to use disposable gloves and a gown over their clothes. This helps prevents the MDRO germs from spreading.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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