Nursing Notes

August 11, 2010

Hospital-Acquired MRSA Infections On the Decline, CDC Says

A ruptured MRSA cyst.
Image via Wikipedia

I found this article on Business Week and thought it would be a good piece of information to showcase here.  At my hospital, we are still seeing quite a large number of MRSA patients, but apparently the rest of the country is  not.  I found this article to be informative and helpful and I hope you will also.  If this is indeed true, then it will make nursing easier overall.  MRSA is insidious and has long term effects for both patients and staff.  I will be happy to see its demise.

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Better infection control may have antibiotic-resistant Staph on the run, experts say

By Madonna Behen
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) — Could American patients and health care workers be winning the war against potentially deadly methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria?

Infections with MRSA that began in hospitals and other health care settings have declined 28 percent in recent years, a new government study of roughly 15 million people finds.

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that rates of “invasive” MRSA infections that had their onset in hospitals or other health care facilities declined an average 9 percent annually from 2005 through 2008. Invasive MRSA infections are those that are found in a normally sterile body site, such as the bloodstream.

According to the study, which is published in the Aug. 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, invasive MRSA infections that were associated with health care settings but began outside, in the community, also declined by about 6 percent annually, for a total of a 17 percent decrease over the four-year period.

“While we don’t know for sure what caused these rates to go down, we’re hopeful and encouraged that the aggressive infection control programs that many hospitals have instituted are having an impact,” said lead author Dr. Alexander J. Kallen, medical officer in the division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the CDC.

For the study, Kallen and his colleagues evaluated a CDC population-based surveillance system of MRSA infections that covers nine metropolitan areas across the United States. After evaluating all reports of laboratory-identified episodes of invasive MRSA infections, they limited their analysis to infections that began in hospitals or those that began in the community but were associated with a health care setting. MRSA infections associated with health care settings made up 82 percent of the total infections. The researchers did not evaluate community-acquired MRSA infections.

A subset analysis of just bloodstream infections showed even greater decreases: a 34 percent drop in hospital-onset infections, and about a 20 percent decrease in community-onset infections over the four-year period.

The authors of an editorial accompanying the study said that while the findings are encouraging, government surveillance systems should be expanded to more geographical areas and should include all Staphylococcus aureus infections, as well as other important health care-associated pathogens.

“Even if MRSA causes half of all Staph infections, that means that all the other strains of S. aureus are causing the other half, and we need to focus on these infections as well,” said co-author Dr. Daniel J. Diekema, director of the division of infectious diseases  [read the rest of article]

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