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From the National Athletic Trainers' Association

CHG-Medicated Soap Helps Prevent MRSA Spread: Study

Soap with chlorhexidine gluconate more effective than non-medicated soap in reducing levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

Using soaps medicated with 4 percent chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) is more effective in preventing the spread of community-acquired methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) than non-medicated soaps, says a new study.

The study, reported in the December 2011 issue of the Journal of Athletic Training, found that the use of such a soap was far more effective at killing the CA-MRSA bacterium than was using a non-medicated soap.Boy washing hands in sink

MRSA has been on the rise among athletes. "[It] is well known to cause skin infections that can be rapidly invasive and difficult to treat," said Michael S. Ferrara, PhD, ATC, from the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Georgia and co-author of the report.

"MRSA can sometimes even progress to severe systemic illnesses, such as osteomyelitis, pneumonia, and even death, so it's imperative to find ways not only to treat the disease as it is diagnosed, but also to stop it from spreading."

In the past most skin infections could be treated effectively with penicillin or other antibiotics, but in recent years more infections have become antibiotic-resistant. For that reason MRSA is now one of the most common skin and soft tissue infections seen at hospital emergency departments. It has also become a serious concern in athletic training rooms and medical clinics because athletes who are infected are generally healthy and do not possess the risk factors typically associated with MRSA infections.

Given that a number of soaps that contain CHG are commercially available, the specific objective of NATA's study was to determine the antimicrobial properties of a soap containing a 4 percent solution of CHG compared to non-medicated soap. The study concluded that far fewer bacteria were recovered from forearms washed with a medicated soap containing CHG than from those washed with nonmedicated soap. In fact, those using the medicated soap showed 95 percent fewer surviving bacteria than those using non-medicated soaps - even up to four hours after the initial use of the product.

Twenty healthy volunteers were recruited for the study, which included a seven-day preconditioning period and test day. The test and control products were randomly assigned and applied to each forearm of the participants. Each forearm was washed for two minutes with the test or control product and rinsed and dried. At one, two and four hours after application, each forearm was exposed to MRSA for approximately 30 minutes.

"Our study shows that the use of medicated soap products containing CHG will provide persistent protection from infectious MRSA bacteria while soap products without CHG will not," said Ron Courson, ATC, study co-author, University of Georgia Athletic Association. "A comprehensive hygiene plan that includes a soap containing CHG, as well as proper recognition, diagnosis and treatment of MRSA can work together to minimize the transmission and adverse effects of this life-threatening disease."

Source: National Athletic Trainers' Association

Posted December 3, 2011