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Few Health Facilities Safe from Methicillin-Resistant Bug

Invasive Staphylococcus aureus infections disproportionately affect some populations

THURSDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are a major public health problem in the United States that are not limited to any one type of health care institution and have a disproportionate effect on certain populations, according to a report published in the Oct. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

R. Monina Klevens, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues report on the incidence and distribution of invasive MRSA infections in nine communities to estimate the national burden of the disease.

The surveillance period was from July 2004 through December 2005, during which time there were 8,987 observed cases of invasive MRSA, most of which were health care-associated. Of these 5,250 (58.4 percent) were classified as community-onset infection, 2,389 (26.6 percent) were hospital-onset infections, 1,234 (13.7 percent) were community-associated infections and 114 (1.3 percent) were not classifiable.

While the overall standardized incidence ratio was 31.8 per 100,000 in 2005, the incidence rate was 127.7 per 100,000 among persons aged 65 and older, 66.5 per 100,000 among blacks and 37.5 per 100,000 among men. The standardized mortality rate was 6.3 per 100,000.

"Molecular testing identified strains historically associated with community-associated disease outbreaks recovered from cultures in both hospital-onset and community-onset health care-associated infections in all surveillance areas," the authors write. "Although in 2005 the majority of invasive disease was related to health care, this may change," they conclude.

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