Multidrug-Resistant Organisms (MDROs)

Document created by tfreiberg Employee on Dec 27, 2016Last modified by ssnider on Jan 10, 2017
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To help stop the spread of infection. Multidrug-resistant organisms are germs that do not react to one or more antibiotics used most to treat the infection, meaning the antibiotic is not killing the germs. This cuts down on the choices of antibiotics the doctor can give you. It becomes more of a problem if the germs spread to others. MDROs may not cause harm and live in the body without causing infection (colonized). However these germs may get into a part of the body where they do not belong, causing an infection.


Some of these MDROs are:

  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE)
  • Clostridium difficile (C. diff)
  • Acinetobactor


How are MDROs spread?

  • MDROs can be spread from person to person by touching body fluids (urine, blood, wound drainage, etc.) or things that have been in direct contact with the infected person (equipment, furniture, toilets, blood pressure cuff, etc.).
  • Some MDROs can live on the skin and may live on surfaces for several days.
  • MDROs can be spread from sharing personal items such as towels, wash cloths, razors or clothing.
  • MDROs are not spread through the air.


How can we stop the spread of MDROs?

  • By washing your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds after touching the infected person or things they have touched (like diapers, bed, tables). You may use alcohol gel but always wash your hands before and after using the bathroom. Dry your hands with a clean paper towel and turn off the faucet with the paper towel.
  • Clean dirty surfaces (table, bathroom, bed, etc.) with a cleaning solution that says disinfectant on the bottle, or you may use a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. (Caution: This may change the color if bleach gets on fabric.)
  • Cover open wounds with clean, dry bandages.
  • Do not use the person’s own things such as clothes, sheets and towels. Wash sheets, towels and clothes with laundry soap and hot water.
  • Put all dressings and bandages in a plastic bag and tie it tight. This can go in the regular trash.
  • If your clothes become dirty from drainage (example, from a cut or sore), remove the dirty clothes at once and wash them.


 How are MDROs treated?

  • MDROs often do not react to some of the most used antibiotics. Whether to treat the infections is made on a case-by-case basis by your doctor.
  • Often, if the person is colonized (carrying the germ but not sick) and not infected, he or she is not treated with drugs.
  • Persons sometimes get rid of MDROs on their own as their body gets healthier and they are taken off antibiotics.



¹Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2006). Management of multidrug-resistant organisms in healthcare setting.
²Commonwealth of Kentucky, Cabinet for Health Services. (January 1999). Guidelines for the prevention and management of multidrug-resistant organisms.