Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2016

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Rothenberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Lisa Casanova



Staphylococcus aureus is the leading cause of hospital acquired infections. Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is the second most common healthcare associated infection in the healthcare system. A bacterium resistant to the antibiotic drug, methicillin, MRSA can make treatment for serious chronic illnesses difficult, leading to morbidity and mortality.


The primary purpose of this study is to provide a systematic review of all research articles pertaining to the effectiveness of personal hygiene and environmental decontamination in controlling the transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).


Databases PubMed, Global Health, and Medline were searched for research articles relevant to reducing MRSA acquisition using personal hygiene practices or environmental decontamination procedure. The keywords MSRA, MDRO, decontamination, hygiene, prevention, and clean were used to assist in identifying these articles. Full text articles were assessed to ensure they met inclusion criteria. Data was collected from each article regarding study time, location, outcome of interest, statistical result, and study design.


Of the articles included in this systematic review, 9 of 10 reported a significant decrease in MRSA acquisition in a healthcare or correctional facility setting after implementation of improved personal hygiene practices or environmental decontamination. There is an increased need for compliance with appropriate hygiene practices in a healthcare setting by healthcare workers. Further research needs to be conducted on the cost effectiveness of decontamination processes and educational programs to encourage compliance with MRSA policies that are already set in place by hospitals worldwide.