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MRSA Cases Dropping in Hospital ICUs
Date:2/17/2009

Prevention efforts have led to declines of up to 70 percent, CDC researchers say,,,,

TUESDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Blood infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have dropped significantly in hospital intensive care units, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

MRSA, a type of staph bacteria that's resistant to certain antibiotics, can cause severe infections in people in hospitals and other health-care facilities. It can also cause serious skin infections in healthy people who haven't recently been hospitalized.

The tough-to-treat blood infections have caused the most concern, but the new CDC numbers suggest that hospital prevention efforts may be turning the tide against MRSA.

"The risk of bloodstream infections caused by MRSA that are associated with the use of central line catheters has dramatically declined by 50 to 70 percent since 2001, in all types of adult ICUs," said lead researcher Dr. Deron C. Burton, associate director of CDC's Health Equity National Center for Health Marketing.

A central line is a catheter inserted into a large blood vessel. The tip of the catheter is typically close to the heart or in the aorta or jugular vein.

The drop in these infections is largely due to better procedures that have improved the safety of catheters, Burton said. "There has been improvement in the sterility of how they are inserted and how they are cared for while they are in the patient," he explained.

The report is published in the Feb. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

For the study, Burton's group collected data from hospitals reporting on MRSA infections to the CDC. Specifically, the researchers looked at ICU-based MRSA infections associated with central line catheters from 1997 to 2007.

During that period, 1,684 ICUs reported almost 33,600 centr
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