Incidence of MRSA decreases at hospitals, unchanged in community

The strain responsible for more than half the cases at a Chicago-area hospital is generally associated with illicit drug use.

By Stephen Feller

CHICAGO, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- While the incidence of the most common strain of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, is decreasing in hospitals, researchers found that it has not decreased in the community.

Based on their analysis, researchers in a new study conducted at a Chicago hospital said that illicit drug use is the most likely cause of the bloodstream infections, or BSIs.


"Decreases in hospital-onset MRSA BSIs may be due to substantial efforts aimed to reduce healthcare-associated infection," said Popovich. "Enhanced prevention efforts in the community for certain populations, such as those engaging in illicit drug use, may be necessary to further curb the spread of invasive MRSA infections."

Researchers identified 1,015 cases of Staphylococcus aureus infections between 2007 and 2013 at the Chicago hospital. Of those, 36 percent were strains resistant to antibiotics. Overall rates of MRSA spread in hospitals have gone down, researchers reported, while those in the community have remained about the same.

Infections due to the USA300 strain made up more than 60 percent of overall cases, the researchers reported. When analyzing the rate of incidence, they said the only epidemiologic explanation for USA300 strains to be responsible for so many infections is current or former drug use -- possibly explaining why efforts to reduce infection in hospitals would go down but the community rate could stay around the same.


Curtailing this persistent spread of disease could be done, the researchers said, with education and prevention of drug use in the community.

The study is published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

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