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Surveillance examining the incidence of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) was conducted over 8 years beginning in 2001 in three health regions covering the northern half of Saskatchewan. The annual rate of individuals reported with CA-MRSA infection in these regions dramatically increased from 8.2 per 10,000 population in 2001 (range to 4.4-10.1 per 10,000) to 168.1 per 10,000 in 2006 (range 43.4-230.9 per 10,000). To address this issue, a team of community members, healthcare professionals, educators and research scientists formed a team called "the Northern Antibiotic Resistance Partnership" (NARP) to develop physician, patient, community, and school based educational materials in an attempt to limit the spread of CA-MRSA.
Posters, radio broadcasts, community slide presentations, physician treatment algorithms, patient pamphlets, and school educational programs Do Bugs Need Drugs http://www.dobugsneeddrugs.org and Germs Away http://www.germsaway.ca were provided to targeted northern communities experiencing high rates of infections.
Following implementation of this program, the rates of MRSA infections in the targeted communities have decreased nearly two-fold (242.8 to 129.3 infections/10,000 population) from 2006 to 2008. Through pre-and post-educational intervention surveys, this decrease in MRSA infections coincided with an increase in knowledge related to appropriate antimicrobial usage and hand washing in these communities.
These educational materials are all freely available http://www.narp.ca and will hopefully aid in increasing awareness of the importance of proper antimicrobial usage and hygiene in diminishing the spread of S. aureus and other infectious diseases in other communities.