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Date of Award

Spring 2013

Document Type

Restricted Thesis: Campus only access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Lester F. Caudill, Jr.


Nosocomial, or hospital-acquired, infections are a serious health problem in today's society. The most serious of these infections occur in intensive care units (ICUs) where patients frequently have a compromised immune system or other complicating conditions. The two most prevalent nosocomial infections in ICUs are ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP)1 and infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a bacterial species.2 VAP aects 27% of all critically ill patients in hospitals. There are between 250,000-300,000 cases of VAP per year in the United States with up to 50% mortality. It increases average ICU stays from 4 days to 13 days and results in $5,000-$20,000 of additional medical costs per patient1. MRSA causes infection when it enters the bloodstream, skin, or soft tissue. In the most severe cases, MRSA can cause sepsis (blood-poisoning), necrotizing pneumonia, and VAP.3;4 MRSA has a mortality rate of 20% and causes more annual deaths than HIV/AIDS in the US.4 Both of these diseases have control programs to slow the spread of infection1;2: however, they still remain prevalent due to the spread of antibiotic resistance.4;5