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Hospital-Acquired MRSA Infections On the Decline, CDC Says
Date:8/10/2010

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 i
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