MRSA infections down in hospitals

Rates of hospital-related invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections declined by more than 50 percent between 2005 and 2011, but there was very little change in community-associated infection rates, according to a study published yesterday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The study's authors identified and monitored MRSA cultures in nine U.S. metropolitan areas and found 80,461 infections occurred in 2011. Of those, 14,156 infections occurred in hospitals and 16,560 infections occurred in the community.

Compared to 2005 rates, these numbers represent a 54.2 percent decrease in hospital-onset infections, but only a 5 percent decrease in community-associated infections.

The study's authors state the size of the decrease in hospital-onset infections is "highly encouraging" and possibly attributed to increases in awareness and preventative measures, "including those targeting intravascular catheter-related infections, and healthcare transmission of multidrug-resistant organisms."

This news comes at the same time the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports antibiotic-resistant infections are on the rise and urging healthcare providers to take steps to address the threat. The recommended strategies include following standard hand hygiene and contact precautions, providing efficient diagnosis and treatment of infections, monitoring resistance patterns and encouraging prevention methods among patients.

Meanwhile, a study last summer found MRSA infections had doubled at academic hospitals in the past five years, in contrast to CDC data at the time that indicated a decline in MRSA cases at hospitals, FierceHealthcare previously reported.

To learn more:
- read the study
- here's the CDC report