Washington, D.C. The community-associated strain of the deadly superbug MRSAan infection-causing bacteria resistant to most common antibioticsposes a far greater health threat than previously known and is making its way into hospitals, according to a study in the December issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
The new threat is easily picked up in fitness centers, schools, and other public places and has increased the overall burden of MRSA within hospitals, the report found.
The study, which analyzed data from more than 300 microbiology labs serving hospitals all over the United States, found a seven-fold increase in the proportion of "community-associated" strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, in outpatient hospital units between 1999 and 2006.
According to study authors, this increase threatens patient safety because doctors and patients often move back and forth between inpatient and outpatient units of a hospital.
"This emerging epidemic of community-associated MRSA strains appears to add to the already high MRSA burden in hospitals," said Ramanan Laxminarayan, Principal Investigator for Extending the Cure, a project that examines policy solutions to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance based at the Washington, D.C. think-tank, Resources for the Future. Extending the Cure is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Pioneer Portfolio, which funds innovative ideas that may lead to breakthroughs in the future of health and health care.
Over the length of the study, researchers found that the proportion of MRSA increased more than 90 percent among outpatients with staph and now accounts for more than 50 percent of all Staphylococcus aureus infections. The findings suggest that this was due almost entirely to an increase in community-associated strains, which jumped from 3.6 percent of all MRSA infections to 28.2 percenta seven-fold jump from 1999 t
|Contact: Kay Campbell|