Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA; also known as methicillin-resistant S aureus) is a common hospital-acquired pathogen that increases morbidity, mortality, and healthcare costs. Its control continues to be an unresolved issue in many hospitals worldwide. The evidence base for the effects of the use of gloves, gowns or masks as control measures for MRSA is unclear.
To assess the effectiveness of wearing gloves, a gown or a mask when contact is anticipated with a hospitalised patient colonised or infected with MRSA, or with the patient's immediate environment.
We searched the Specialised Registers of three Cochrane Groups (Wounds Group on 5 June 2015; Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC) Group on 9 July 2013; and Infectious Diseases Group on 5 January 2009); CENTRAL (The Cochrane Library 2015, Issue 6); DARE, HTA, NHS EED, and the Methodology Register (The Cochrane Library 2015, Issue 6); MEDLINE and MEDLINE In-Process & Other Non-Indexed Citations (1946 to June week 1 2015); EMBASE (1974 to 4 June 2015); Web of Science (WOS) Core Collection (from inception to 7 June 2015); CINAHL (1982 to 5 June 2015); British Nursing Index (1985 to 6 July 2010); and ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Database (1639 to 11 June 2015). We also searched three trials registers (on 6 June 2015), references list of articles, and conference proceedings. We finally contacted relevant individuals for additional studies.
Studies assessing the effects on MRSA transmission of the use of gloves, gowns or masks by any person in the hospital setting when contact is anticipated with a hospitalised patient colonised or infected with MRSA, or with the patient's immediate environment. We did not assess adverse effects or economic issues associated with these interventions.We considered any comparator to be eligible. With regard to study design, only randomised controlled trials (clustered or not) and the following non-randomised experimental studies were eligible: quasi-randomised controlled trials (clustered or not), non-randomised controlled trials (clustered or not), controlled before-and-after studies, controlled cohort before-after studies, interrupted time series studies (controlled or not), and repeated measures studies. We did not exclude any study on the basis of language or date of publication.
Two review authors independently decided on eligibility of the studies. Had any study having been included, two review authors would have extracted data (at least for outcome data) and assessed the risk of bias independently. We would have followed the standard methodological procedures suggested by Cochrane and the Cochrane EPOC Group for assessing risk of bias and analysing the data.
We identified no eligible studies for this review, either completed or ongoing.
We found no studies assessing the effects of wearing gloves, gowns or masks for contact with MRSA hospitalised patients, or with their immediate environment, on the transmission of MRSA to patients, hospital staff, patients' caregivers or visitors. This absence of evidence should not be interpreted as evidence of no effect for these interventions. The effects of gloves, gowns and masks in these circumstances have yet to be determined by rigorous experimental studies, such as cluster-randomised trials involving multiple wards or hospitals, or interrupted time series studies.