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March 6, 2018

The Importance of Contact Precautions for Endemic Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci

Author Affiliations
  • 1Salt Lake Informatics, Decision-Enhancement, and Analytic Sciences (IDEAS 2.0) Center, VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, Salt Lake City, Utah
  • 2Department of Internal Medicine, University of Utah School of Medicine, Salt Lake City
  • 3VA Maryland Healthcare System, Baltimore
  • 4Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore
JAMA. 2018;319(9):863-864. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.21122

Contact precautions (CPs), the use of gloves and gowns, have been widely used for many years to prevent pathogen transmission between patients in health care facilities. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended CPs for patients infected with multidrug-resistant organisms for decades, including in its most recent guidance.1 Despite this recommendation, adherence is often variable, owing largely to perceptions that CPs are burdensome to use. Observational studies also suggest that CPs are costly, reduce health care worker interactions with patients, and increase anxiety and depression among patients.