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Health Care-Linked MRSA Rate Shows Recent Decline

Study looks at invasive hospital-onset, health care-associated community-onset infections

TUESDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- In a recent four-year period, rates of invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections declined in patients thought to have hospital-onset infections and those thought to have health care-associated infections that began in the community, according to research published in the Aug. 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Alexander J. Kallen, M.D., of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from 2005 through 2008 from facilities in nine U.S. metropolitan regions participating in a CDC surveillance system. Episodes of invasive MRSA infections were classified as hospital-onset or health care-associated community-onset.

The authors found that the incidence rate of hospital-onset invasive MRSA infections was 1.02 per 10,000 population in 2005, and it decreased 9.4 percent per year during the study period. The incidence of health care-associated community-onset infections was 2.2 per 10,000 in 2005, and it declined 5.7 percent annually. A subset of infections with bloodstream infections showed a particularly prominent decrease.

"The study by Kallen et al, when combined with previous investigations, suggests that there may be an ongoing decrease in MRSA as a cause of human infection, particularly in noncommunity settings," write the authors of an accompanying editorial. "The decreases are occurring for a reason, and only by improving existing surveillance and prevention research programs can clinicians and infection control researchers begin to explain why. Such research will be essential for guiding future approaches to all S. aureus prevention. Although MRSA may be in decline, it is unlikely that S. aureus will follow suit."

A co-author's spouse has been a consultant for Kimberly-Clark. The editorial co-authors disclosed grants from several pharmaceutical companies.

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