OSPHD: California Sees Dramatic Spike in MRSA Cases Found in Hospitals
The number of California hospital patients with antibiotic-resistant staph infections quadrupled from 13,000 cases in 1999 to 52,000 in 2007, according to data the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development released yesterday, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.Â
Such infections are known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.
OSHPD's report stems from a 2006 state law requiring officials to provide data on infectious disease surveillance and prevention.
Investigators tracked patient discharges that included reports of infection. They did not indicate whether patients already had MRSA before entering the hospital.
In addition, the report does not examine demographic factors or attempt to determine why the infections have become more prevalent.
Possible Reasons for Increase
The OSPHD report finds that young people and adults admitted directly from home accounted for the largest increase in MRSA infections. In 1999, the greatest number of cases involved older patients admitted from nursing homes.
According to the investigators, this finding indicates that many of the MRSA cases were community-acquired rather than hospital-acquired.
The report also found that the percentage of staph infections that were resistant to antibiotics increased from 30% in 1999 to 60% in 2007.
Investigators suggested that increased antibiotic use in the community might account for the state's higher rates of drug resistance.
Between 1999 and 2007, the OSPHD data suggest that staph-associated hospital stay lengths decreased from 21 days to 15 days (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 12/8).
In addition, the report finds that the number of Californians with MRSA infections who died within 30 days of hospital admission declined from 35% in 1999 to 24% in 2007.
Experts say the falling mortality rate might indicate that the total number of MRSA cases has increased, with skin infections and other minor conditions accounting for a larger percentage of cases.Officials also say that hospitals and public health agencies are improving their monitoring of staph cases (Evans, Torrance Daily Breeze, 12/8). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.