FRIDAY, July 12, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Pregnant women with diabetes are three times more likely to develop a potentially deadly hospital-acquired infection than those without diabetes, a new study finds.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and a significant cause of illness and sometimes death, especially among hospital patients.
The new study found that increased risk is associated with having diabetes before becoming pregnant, but not with diabetes that develops during pregnancy (gestational diabetes), according to the University of California, Los Angeles, researchers.
The study appears in the July issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.
Researchers Andrea Parriott and Dr. Arah Onyebuchi analyzed data from more than 3.5 million delivery-related hospital admissions in the United States and learned that about 5 percent of new mothers developed gestational diabetes and 1 percent had diabetes before they became pregnant, according to a journal news release.
There were nearly 600 cases of MRSA among the mothers after giving birth. The most common sources of infection were skin (about 31 percent), urinary tract (6.4 percent), other genital or urinary organ sites (5.2 percent), wound infections (3 percent) and blood infections (2 percent).
Although the study found an association between pregnant women with diabetes and higher risk of MRSA infection, it did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.
"When combined with previous research showing increased risk of certain infections in diabetic persons, it seems likely that diabetic women are at increased risk of MRSA infection compared with other women admitted for delivery of an infant," the researchers concluded in the study.
"As we wait for further research on this topic, it might seem prudent for hospitals to be vigilant about possible MRSA risk among diabetic women in labor and delivery," the researchers added.
The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has more about MRSA.