Visit to Idexx Laboratory - Wetherby
In March we were invited by Mick Rich and Larry Roberts to visit IDEXX laboratories in Wetherby. IDEXX Laboratories have carried out extensive research into the subject of MRSA in companion animals. We were able to tour the labs and see how a variety of bacterial organisms are cultured and identified. Mick and Larry spent a great deal of time explaining the types of MRSA that are prevalent in companion animals, and were able to describe the process by which each strain is identified. Since that visit, Larry and Mick have agreed to put together a piece for the website on useful things to know about MRSA strains and the complexity surrounding its transmission.
Anyone looking at the homepage of the Bella Moss foundation website (www.thebellamossfoundation.com) will see a brief item about the press launch that went ahead at the end of March. This provided a tremendous opportunity to meet Professor David Lloyd of the RVC and his wife, Eve. We were able to discover how closely we think regarding MRSA as an issue and will be meeting him and his team in the near future to discuss research and other clinical issues.
Whilst you are at the Foundation website check out the new testimonial page, which is from pet owners who express their thanks to us for out help with getting their pets over MRSA. We are pleased to inform you all that every case we have come into contact with (all dogs) are now doing well. Sadly one announcement on the forum from a pet owner we do not know has reported his dog has died due to MRSA and for that we are truly sorry.
We’re also preparing a new page on pets-mrsa in which vets will be able to make substantial contributions that will help and inform pet owners. We have a number of vets ready to contribute and the page should be up by the end of April. Another development will be a Q&A page in which we will have vets addressing the frequent questions we receive. The Forum has really taken off now, and contributions have been coming in from vets and VNs on a number of important issues.
We have also had a lot of contributions concerning products, and have now started a new thread devoted to these, whilst making it clear that neither PETS-MRSA.com not The Bella Moss Foundation either endorse or promote any products. As another development of the website we will be creating a page that links visitors to the various product companies websites for information. Again, this will not imply any endorsement of any company or product on the part of PETS-MRSA.COM or The Bella Moss Foundation.
Jill visited Crufts in March and would like to give a big thanks to Chris Lawrence of the Dogs Trust and Nick Mays of Our Dogs for the tremendous support and interest they showed. Also, many thanks to everyone else who gave so much time to offer thoughts and suggestions on how The Bella Moss Foundation can take its work forward.
Jill attended the Patients' Summit in London on the 14th of April where many issues concerning MRSA and healthcare were discussed. During the opening speeches Claire Rayner announced that she was present and asked her to stand up and display the brochure, which generated a huge amount of interest. Claire has been an amazing support and for that we thank her.
Jill also had the chance to speak to Leslie Ash, (see photo on front page of website) who said she has a dog that means the world to her and is so shocked to learn that MRSA is now affecting pets that she said 'It's really getting out of control and we need to do something'. She said the work we are doing is very important.
Jill also met Dr Phil Hammond (from TVs 'Trust Me I’m A Doctor) who spoke at the end of the day to an invited audience and who showed great interest in the work of the Bella Moss Foundation There was a great deal happening at the Summit, but the standout events were the speech given by the Anne Walker, Chief Executive of the Healthcare Commission, on Inspecting, Informing and Improving hospital cleanliness and a report in the Royal College of Nurses seminar, delivered by Sue Wiseman, on a piece of research that looked at the role of the built environment in infection control.
Anne Walker reported on the process the Healthcare Commission applies, and described the patient surveys, self-assessments and inspections that combine to produce a picture of overall cleanliness. The process she described could become a model for veterinary practices, and whilst only specifically applied to hospitals at present, it could reduce the current concerns about cleanliness and infection control.
The RCN seminar focused on the difficulties encountered when trying to reduce MRSA infection rates in a particular general hospital ward. In looking at possible areas of contamination, the researches found that MRSA was present in almost all areas of the ward and was cultured from almost everywhere that dust had been allowed to gather. This included the medicines trolley that was in daily use and which showed that even areas that were generally assumed to be clean and free from infection were, in fact, contaminated.
The solution was not just to clean, but to reorganise the ward environment so that no area was used for long-term storage and areas difficult to reach, such as behind radiator covers, were made easily accessible. The results of their work were impressive; they reduced the MRSA infection rate from around 14% to less than 2%, but the knowledge they gained on the importance of looking at the environment critically is perhaps more important. This has direct relevance to veterinary practices aiming to reduce infections of all types and should be required reading.
We finally heard from the Health and Safety Executive, and their letter is now on the Campaigning for Change page. It would appear that we have finally had confirmation that there is no governmental body with interest or responsibility for serious infection contracted by pets on veterinary premises.