Readers Write

Farr gets reader vote in isolation debate

We cannot afford to go backward’

Dear Editor,

I recently read your article in the July 2002 issue titled "Screen and isolate or standard precautions?" [See archives under] As a former doctor of epidemiology in Russia, I was shocked to see Marguerite Jackson’s endorsement of standard precautions in handling vancomycin-resistant enterococci, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (and vancomycin-resistant S. aureus?) patients. Especially [since she is] a former president of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology and a leader in health care in California. If we ignore our present serious problems, when and how are we to train new health care workers for plague and smallpox? Barry Farr was far wiser in advocating the use of specific contact precautions. Jackson’s logic falls flat on its face: i.e., nurses don’t comply with special precautions, so don’t tell them to. I’m afraid I see her hand in recent backward moves by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention toward more generic infection control measures, as you discussed in your April 2002 issue. We cannot afford to go backward. Too much is at stake.


Lana Hutsell
Surveillance Practitioner
Spartanburg (SC) Healthcare System