CDC Hoping Chlorhexidine Soap Will Stop Superbug Infections

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is funding research in California and Illinois hospitals and nursing homes that it hopes will help stop or at least considerably reduce drug-resistant infections, according to an NPR report.

The approach these organizations are taking primarily centers around doctors and healthcare workers washing patients with antimicrobial chlorhexidine soap. CDC provided funding to 50 facilities in the two states, more specifically in Chicago and Orange County, Calif., for the efforts.

NPR reports that in Chicago, researchers are working with nursing home and long-term acute care hospital staff to screen patients for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) upon admission and then bath them daily with the soap. Efforts also include a handwashing campaign and increased communication concerning CRE among hospitals.

Researchers working in Orange County are collaborating with hospital and nursing home staff to use an antiseptic wash, together with an iodine-based nose swab. The expectation is that these efforts will "prevent new people from getting drug-resistant bacteria and keep the ones who already have the bacteria on their skin or elsewhere from developing infections," according to the report.

Preliminary data from the Orange County project (which concludes in May) show that after 18 months, there was a 25% drop in drug-resistant organisms in nursing home residents, 34% percent in long-term acute care hospital patient and a 9% decline in traditional hospital patients. Results from the Chicago project are pending, with the project ending in September.