Evaluation of a Staphylococcus Eradication Protocol for Patients Who Present to the Emergency Department With Cutaneous Abscess

This study is ongoing, but not recruiting participants.
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Tufts Medical Center
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:
First received: February 17, 2012
Last updated: August 12, 2013
Last verified: August 2013

Many people have heard of resistant "superbugs" which are causing worrisome infections in people around the world. One of these bacteria is called Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Staph aureus is a pathogen that can lead to skin infections, but this newer strain is resistant to the standard antibiotic treatment that physicians used to render (usually penicillin-based). In addition, the community-acquired strain of MRSA is associated with creation of painful boils, or abscesses, which require patients to come and have a painful incision and drainage procedure in the ED. Soft tissue infections attributable to MRSA presenting to the ED and other ambulatory settings have increased at an alarming rate - from 32.1 to 48.1 visits per 1000 population when comparing data from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey and National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey from 1997 to 2005.

It is believed that MRSA is contracted from close contacts with other people who have the infection, and then it lives on the skin and nasal passages. For people who have recurrent skin infections, infectious disease experts sometimes recommend an "eradication" or "decolonization" protocol to try and kill off all of the MRSA. These protocols often involve a) a topical scrub to remove MRSA from the skin, b) a nasal antibiotic ointment to remove MRSA from the nasal passages, and occasionally c) an oral antibiotic. This procedure is usually recommended after seeing an infectious disease specialist, but to our knowledge, this has never been attempted from emergency department patients.

Therefore, in this study, the investigators will enroll patients who present to the emergency department with abscesses to the study. The patients will be randomly selected to either have the standard of care, which includes the standard drainage of the abscess and then usually a follow-up visit to recheck the wound, or to have the standard of care plus instructions to use a topical scrub of a soap called chlorhexidine once a day for five days and twice daily application of a topical antibiotic ointment called mupirocin to the nasal passages for five days.

The investigators will then call back the patients at 7 days, 14 days (if in the treatment arm), 3 months and 6 months, to ask if they have had any recurrence of abscess formation. The study hypothesis is that the patients who have undergone the decontamination protocol will have fewer subsequent infections.

Using a conservative estimate for the proportion of recurrence in the control group of 50%, a sample size of 50 (25 subjects in each group) will provide the investigators with 80% power to detect a statistically significant difference in the proportion of patients with recurrence between the treatment and control groups if the proportion of the treatment group with recurrent infection is 15%. If 60% of the control group experiences a recurrent infection, the study will have 80% power to detect a statistically significant difference if recurrence is observed in 23% of the treatment group.

If the hypothesis is true, it could greatly impact the care of patients who present with the ED with abscesses, and hopefully reduce the morbidity associated with having recurrent abscesses, including lost work and need to return for future painful incision and drainage procedures.

Condition Intervention Phase
Cutaneous Abscess
Drug: Chlorhexidine gluconate
Drug: Mupirocin
Phase 4

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: A Randomized Trial to Evaluate a Staphylococcus Eradication Protocol for Patients Who Present to the Emergency Department With Cutaneous Abscess

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Tufts Medical Center:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Recurrence of cutaneous abscess [ Time Frame: 6 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
    A patient's description that they have had another abscess since their index emergency department visit.

Estimated Enrollment: 50
Study Start Date: September 2011
Estimated Study Completion Date: December 2013
Estimated Primary Completion Date: November 2013 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Intervention group
In this arm, patients are treated with chlorhexidine scrubs once a day for 5 days and mupirocin nasal ointment inserted to both nostrils twice a day for 5 days. Both treatments are begun 7 days after enrollment, or when the abscess has healed fully if it has not healed by day 7.
Drug: Chlorhexidine gluconate
Scrubs applied once a day for 5 days
Other Name: Hibiclens
Drug: Mupirocin
Nasal mupirocin applied topically to both nostrils twice a day for 5 days
Other Name: Bactroban
No Intervention: Standard of Care
In this arm, patients receive routine care of their abscess, which may or may not include either topical or oral antibiotics, at the discretion of the treating clinician.


Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Adult patients aged 18 years of age or older who present to our emergency department with a skin abscess which has undergone incision and drainage in which pus was present, and for whom the attending emergency physician is planning on discharging the patient home.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Abscesses resulting from insect or animal bites or intravenous drug use (both of which can be polymicrobial), chronic wounds (>2 weeks), wounds where no drainage was obtained in the course of the I&D, reported allergy to chlorhexidine or mupirocin, lack of ability to follow-up the patient (lack of phone number or stable address). Additionally, patients will be excluded who are of high acuity (unstable vital signs), in distress, with an insurmountable language barrier, intoxication (or other cause of altered mental status), presenting with acute psychiatric illness, are victims of possible sexual assault, or prisoners.
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Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01537783

United States, Massachusetts
Tufts Medical Center
Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02111
Sponsors and Collaborators
Tufts Medical Center
Principal Investigator: Scott G Weiner, MD, MPH Tufts Medical Center
  More Information

No publications provided

Responsible Party: Tufts Medical Center
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01537783     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: ED Staph Eradication
Study First Received: February 17, 2012
Last Updated: August 12, 2013
Health Authority: United States: Institutional Review Board

Keywords provided by Tufts Medical Center:

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Skin Diseases
Pathologic Processes
Chlorhexidine gluconate
Anti-Infective Agents, Local
Anti-Infective Agents
Therapeutic Uses
Pharmacologic Actions
Dermatologic Agents
Anti-Bacterial Agents
Protein Synthesis Inhibitors
Enzyme Inhibitors
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action

ClinicalTrials.gov processed this record on September 16, 2014