American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
November 2010 Clinical Laboratory News: News Brief

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November 2010: Volume 36, Number 11

Report Finds Drop in MRSA Infections

A new report released by the American Medical Association found that the number of invasive healthcare-related methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections has decreased among patients with healthcare-associated infections that were acquired in community settings. MRSA infection rates also declined among those with hospital-onset invasive disease.

The report, “Health Care–Associated Invasive MRSA Infections, 2005–2008,” highlights that an estimated 1.7 million healthcare-related infections are associated with 99,000 deaths in U.S. hospitals every year. Overall, from 2005 through 2008, 21,503 cases of invasive MRSA infection were reported; 17,508 of those cases were healthcare-related.

In addition, the report stresses that although many pathogens can cause healthcare-related infections, nearly 16% of those recently reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network were associated with pathogens that were resistant to the antimicrobials traditionally used to treat them.

Beginning in mid-2004, the researchers collected laboratory data on invasive MRSA infection in nine geographically diverse metropolitan locations covering approximately 15 million people. The average age of patients with these infections, which remained the same over the duration of the study, was 61 years.

The report found that the overall percentage of both healthcare-related and community acquired infections did not change significantly over the 4 years. However, the percentage of overall infections that were hospital-onset decreased from 26% to 23%. Another piece of good news from the report is that rates of MRSA bloodstream infections in intensive care units also decreased.

The full report is available online.