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Controlling an outbreak of MRSA in the Neonatal Unit: a steep learning curve
  1. Ian A Laing (ian.laing{at}
  1. Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health, United Kingdom
    1. Alan P Gibb (alanp.gibb{at}
    1. Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
      1. Alison McCallum (alison.mccallum{at}
      1. Director of Public Health, Lothian Health Board, United Kingdom


        Meticillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) can cause serious infections in the newborn. While audit may show that a Neonatal Unit’s main cause of infective morbidity is the coagulase negative staphylococcus, Health Authorities and politicians fear the implications of MRSA and its impact on the general public. MRSA causes mortality and morbidity in other areas of hospitals in the UK and many other countries 1 with an uneasy acceptance that this is now the established norm, but MRSA in the Neonatal Unit (NNU) carries sensitivities which have a huge impact on the reactions of health authorities, politicians and the press. Tensions can arise between the Health Authority/Health Board, interested politicians and clinical staff, largely based on their separate perspectives. There are widely differing approaches to the control of MRSA colonisation and infection in the Neonatal Unit.2 The following article is based on a recent incident in a Neonatal Unit and emphasises the evolution of understanding between the clinical staff and the external authorities.

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