Widespread screening of hospital patients for the drug-resistant staph bacteria MRSA doesn’t appear to reduce the number of infections, a new study finds. Swiss researchers screened more than 10,000 patients for the superbug when they were admitted to the University of Geneva Hospitals. Another 10,000 weren’t tested. The rates of MRSA infections were similar for both groups, the Chicago Tribune reports.
“It wasn’t what we expected,” the study’s lead author says. Experts are split on the best strategy for fighting the superbug, which is killing almost 19,000 people a year; Illinois passed a law last year requiring hospitals to test all at-risk patients. The study’s lead author suggests targeted testing for high-risk patients: “It’s not cost-effective to do very widespread, universal screening.”