WA starts tracking MRSA cases

As we noted yesterday, MRSA isn't tracked as closely in U.S. hospitals as patient advocates would like, nor are cases reported publicly in many instances. However, Washington state has pulled away from the pack, with state officials having begun tracking hospital-based MRSA cases. The state's health agency, which is also asking for voluntary reports on patients who have the flu and MRSA pneumonia, now requires hospitals to use federal guidelines for controlling the killer superbug.

The push comes partly in follow-up to a newspaper piece reporting that MRSA cases in hospitals have climbed 33-fold over a decade, a rise which has attracted little attention from state health officials or regulators.

Unfortunately, it's not clear how much more the state's health policy leaders can do, given budgetary pressures. While the state Department of Health has asked for a relatively paltry $768,000 for infection surveillance for next year, it's not clear that it will get even that much.

To learn more about Washington state's MRSA efforts:
- read this Seattle Post-Intelligencer piece

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