Health Team

Study: MRSA infections at hospitals rates drop

Posted August 10, 2010 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated August 10, 2010 6:22 p.m. EDT

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA infections are potentially life threatening because the bacteria is resistant to common antibiotics.

MRSA may start on the skin, but can enter the body through incisions, ports and IV lines.

Researchers with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collected four years of data from 15 million patients from hospitals in nine metropolitan areas from California to New York.

The hospitals participated in a CDC program to minimize the impact of MRSA infections.

“The study showed that over this four-year time period there was about a 28 percent decrease in these serious MRSA infections that start in the hospital,” said Dr. Alexander Kallen, of the CDC.

The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“There was also about a 17 percent decrease in these infections that start in people outside the hospital but are in people that have contact with the health care system,” Kallen said.

The decrease in MRSA infections was relatively consistent across all nine sites.

“I think it's also interesting that there was even a larger decrease of about 34 percent among the subset of those infections that were bloodstream infections,” Kallen said.

Before this study, information on the decline of MRSA infections has been limited to single hospitals or a small collection of centers.

Researchers said though the results are encouraging, there's a lot more work needed to make sure these downward trends continue.

Preventing health care-associated MRSA infections will continue to be a national priority, researchers said.