MRSA staph infection rates falling at hospitals

People in hospitals are significantly less likely to contract an infection from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, than they were in 2005.
By GABRIELLE LEVY,  |  Sept. 18, 2013 at 10:15 AM
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The number of cases of a deadly infection often spread at hospitals has dropped dramatically in the past decade, a new study shows.

Incidences of infection caused by the bacteria methicillian-resistant Stataphylococus aurereus bacteria, or MRSA, dropped by 31 percent in 2011 compared to 2005, 30,000 fewer cases overall.

While the decrease in community-based infection have dropped just 5 percent, in hospitals, where most MRSA infections occur, dropped by more than half.

{q:"The large decrease (54%) in hospital-onset invasive MRSA infections between 2005 and 2011 is highly encouraging and may be attributable to increased awareness and implementation of local and nationwide infection prevention measures in many healthcare settings, including those targeting intravascular catheter-related infections, and healthcare transmission of multidrug-resistant organisms," the study's authors wrote in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Franklin D. Lowry, a professor of infectious diseases at Columbia University, also warned the results may have more to do with changes in the bacteria itself, not just hospital practices.

"It is also possible that the epidemic MRSA strains circulating in the healthcare setting have evolved, becoming less virulent," Dr. Lowry wrote.

The study, led by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemic intelligence officer Dr. Raymund Dantes, found 80,461 MRSA cases in 2011, a drop from 111,261 in 2005.

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