JAMA: Rate of healthcare-related MRSA infections decreasing

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An analysis of data from 2005 through 2008 of nine metropolitan areas in the U.S. indicates that healthcare-associated invasive methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections decreased among patients with infections that began in the community or in the hospital, according to a study in the Aug. 11 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association.

Alexander J. Kallen, MD, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues used a population-based surveillance system to evaluate the incidence of invasive healthcare-associated MRSA infections covering a population of approximately 15 million persons.

Overall, the participating surveillance sites reported 21,503 cases of invasive MRSA infections, with 17,508 cases either hospital-onset or healthcare-associated community-onset. Most healthcare-associated infections (88 percent) involved a positive blood culture and were classified as a bloodstream infection (BSI).

“The modeled incidence, adjusted for age and race, of hospital-onset invasive MRSA infections significantly decreased 9.4 percent per year from 2005 through 2008; while there was a significant 5.7 percent decrease per year in the modeled incidence of healthcare-associated community-onset infections,” wrote the authors. “This would equate to about a 28 percent decrease in all hospital-onset invasive MRSA infections and about a 17 percent decrease in all invasive healthcare-associated community-onset infections over the four-year period.”

The researchers added that although the reasons for the observed decrease in incidence of invasive healthcare-associated MRSA infections are not known, a number of factors might have contributed, including the dissemination of MRSA prevention practices in many U.S. hospitals.

“Although these data suggest progress has occurred in preventing health care-associated MRSA infections, more challenges remain,” the study concluded. “Increasing adherence to existing recommendations and addressing MRSA transmission and prevention beyond inpatient settings are challenges that will require further effort and investigation if eliminating preventable healthcare-associated invasive MRSA infections is to be attained.”