SHEA President Issues Statement on New MRSA Study

A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a decrease in catheter-associated bloodstream infections caused by both methicillin-resistant and methicillin-sensitive S. aureus. The 10-year national study, “Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infections in U.S. Intensive Care Units, 1997,” reported data from both the National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance (NNIS) and its successor, the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN). The study demonstrates a steady decline in intensive care unit catheter-associated MRSA bloodstream infections since 2001.

Mark E. Rupp, MD, president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA), makes the following statement: "Despite the fact that MRSA prevalence continues to rise, efforts to prevent catheter infections are paying dividends and the number of infections due to all types of Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA, have been falling sharply since 2001. Therefore, simply examining the percentage of staphylococcal isolates that are MRSA can be a misleading indicator of the burden of disease caused by this organism. The rate of these infections is decreasing and hospitals are becoming safer for patients because hospitals are instituting and adhering to general practices that result in fewer infections, including measures to ensure proper catheter insertion and removal, hand hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and antimicrobial stewardship. Because MRSA only causes about 8 percent of healthcare-associated infections, it is critical that we not concentrate all of our preventive efforts on a single bacterium. Undue emphasis on a single organism like MRSA can dilute broader-based measures that can have a dramatic effect on infections caused by many different organisms. This study illustrates that it is more important for hospitals to focus on the infections and diseases that the germs cause rather than the germs themselves. Decreasing the infections will decrease the burden of disease caused by all resistant organisms and not just MRSA."

Source: Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA)

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