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Drug-Resistant Staph a Widespread Threat
Date:10/16/2007

Dangerous infections occuring more often than previously believed, study finds

TUESDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Potentially deadly, drug-resistant staph infections are more common, both in and out of hospitals, than experts once thought, a new study warns.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are the top cause of skin and soft tissue infections among people in hospitals and can result in severe and even fatal disease. In fact, MRSA infections account for almost 19,000 deaths and more than 94,000 life-threatening illnesses each year in the United States.

"Invasive MRSA is an important public health problem," said lead researcher Dr. R. Monina Klevens, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. "We need to do a better job in preventing MRSA infections," she added.

In the study, Klevens' group used data from the Active Bacterial Core surveillance/Emerging Infections Program Network from July 2004 through December 2005 to estimate the incidence of MRSA infection in the United States.

The report is published in the Oct. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers uncovered 8,987 cases of invasive MRSA. Most of these (58.4 percent)) were found in community health care settings, 26.6 percent were in hospitals, 13.7 percent were infections not associated with health care facilities, and 1.3 percent could not be classified.

Klevens' team estimated the rate of invasive MRSA in 2005 at 31.8 per 100,000 persons, but that rate was higher for certain populations.

By age, rates of infection were highest for those 65 and older (almost 128 cases per 100,000). Blacks were much more likely than whites to become infected, at 66.5 cases per 100,000 versus about 28 per 100,000, respectively. Men had more cases (37.5 per 100,000) than women (26.3 per 100,000). The lowest rate was fo
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