Washington - The devastating drug-resistant staph infection known as MRSA has affected patients in hospitals, first responders such as police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel, schoolchildren and other individuals in public places across the country. In response, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has updated and reintroduced a package of legislation to combat the spread of the infection. The Worker Infection Protection Act would create a new Occupational, Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard to protect employees who are exposed to drug resistant infections, such as MRSA. The MRSA Infection Prevention and Patient Protection Act would create a MRSA prevention program for hospitals and would require hospitals to screen high-risk patients for the infection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has calculated that 19,000 Americans are dying of staph infections each year and that MRSA is killing more people annually than AIDS, emphysema or homicide.
"This infection is deadly and it sneaks up on a wide variety of people in a wide variety of places," said Menendez. "Whether you are hospital patient, a health care worker, a first responder or a child in school, you should have the peace of mind of knowing that the federal government is doing everything it can to educate about and prevent the spread of this infection. I will work with my colleagues to help take these important steps in the battle against MRSA."
Worker Infection Protection Act:
The bill would create a new Office of Safety and Health Administration standard to protect health care workers and first responders, including police, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and other workers at risk of workplace exposure to drug resistant infections, such as MRSA.
MRSA Infection Prevention and Patient Protection Act:
The bill would require hospitals to screen all patients entering intensive care units and other high risk units for MRSA, and eventually all admitted patients. The bill also requires public disclosure of the infection rate within each hospital, and would encourage best hospital practices, such as hand hygiene and contact precautions, in order to prevent the spread of MRSA. Rep. Jackie Speier (CA-12) introduced a companion bill in the House.