Report Finds Reduction of MRSA Infection Rate in Health Care Settings
The number of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections contracted in health care settings appears to be declining, according to a study published on Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Approximately 90,000 health care-associated MRSA infections and about 15,000 related deaths are reported annually in the U.S., but the findings indicate that hospitals' efforts to prevent the spread of the infection have been successful (Roan, Los Angeles Times, 8/10).
For the study, CDC researchers analyzed data for about 15 million U.S. residents in nine metropolitan areas (Behen, HealthDay, 8/10).
They found that the rate of "invasive" hospital-acquired MRSA infections -- those that spread to the blood, bones, joints, lungs or soft tissue -- declined by 28% between 2005 and 2008 (Los Angeles Times, 8/10).
Overall, the number of health care-associated MRSA infections decreased by 9% annually across the study period (Joelving, Reuters, 8/10). Meanwhile, infections contracted after being discharged from a health care facility decreased by 17% across the four-year period, declining by about 6% annually (HealthDay, 8/10).
Possible Contributing Factors
According to the researchers, the declining infection rate can be attributed to recently implemented prevention initiatives at hospitals, such as
- Improved hand washing practices;
- Disinfecting patients' skin;
- Removing unnecessary catheters; and
- Tracking infection rates (Los Angeles Times, 8/10).
Although the researchers said they were "encouraged" by the results, an accompanying JAMA editorial noted that better MRSA surveillance still is needed and recommended that government monitoring of the infection should expand to all 50 states and include rural areas (Tanner, AP/Chicago Tribune, 8/10).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.