(RxWiki News) Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of staph infection that doesn't respond to certain types of antibiotic medications, making it harder to treat. Though these infections pose a threat, especially in healthcare settings, prevention methods seem to be working.
A new study explored the presence of MRSA in the United States, which the authors say is an important way to understand the success of prevention strategies.
The study estimated that in 2011, there were around 30,800 fewer infections (a 31 percent drop) than were seen in the country during 2005.
"Clean cuts and wounds thoroughly."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), MRSA usually enters the body through a wound in the skin, and often strikes hospital patients, though the bacteria can affect anyone.
This new study, led by Raymund Dantes, MD, MPH, Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with CDC in Atlanta, looked at MRSA data reported to the CDC from nine US cities during 2005 to 2011. The researchers then used census data to estimate the rate of invasive (or serious) MRSA infections across the US as a whole.
The nine sites reported 4,872 invasive MRSA infections in 4,445 people during 2011. The average patient age was 61 years old, and most patients (60 percent) were male.
Using this data, Dr. Dantes and team estimated that 80,461 invasive MRSA infections occurred across the US during 2011, which is 30,800 fewer cases than the estimated count in 2005.
The researchers calculated that 14,156 of the cases were hospital-onset infections (infections that developed after being hospitalized for more than three days), 48,353 cases were health care-associated community-onset infections (HACO; infections that occurred in patients with a documented risk factor on or before their third day of hospitalization) and 16,560 were community-associated (infections that occurred in a patient with no risk factor on or before their third day of hospitalization).
These numbers represented a 54.2 percent decrease for hospital-onset infections since 2005, a 27.7 percent decrease for HACO infections and a 5 percent decrease for community-onset infections.
The study authors noted that the results were an estimation based on nine US sites, which were potentially not representative of the country as a whole. Also, the study focused on invasive MRSA, not non-invasive MRSA, which tends to affect the skin and soft tissues.
"[I]n 2011 fewer infections occurred among patients during hospitalization than among persons in the community without recent health care exposures. Effective strategies for preventing infections outside acute care settings will have the greatest impact on further reducing invasive MRSA infections nationally," Dr. Dante and colleagues wrote.
This study was published September 16 in the JAMA Internal Medicine.
Funding for the study was provided by CDC. No conflicts of interest were reported.