Control of MSSA and MRSA in the U.S.: Protocols, Policies, Risk Adjustment and Excuses

Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on March 5, 2019 showed that Staph aureus infections are a major problem in the United States, with 119,000 infections and almost 20,000 deaths in 2017. Rates of decline for hospital-onset MRSA have slowed since 2012 and the United States is not on track for meeting the 2015?U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ goal of a 50% reduction by 2020. There is a need for improved standards for control of dangerous pathogens. Currently, the World Health Organization’s recommendation of preoperatively screening patients for Staph aureus has not become a standard of care in the United States.

The U.S. Veterans Health Administration also released data which found a much larger decrease in hospital-onset MRSA infections as opposed to hospital-onset MSSA using various infectious disease bundles that all included universal MRSA surveillance and isolation for MRSA carriers. These results mirror the results obtained by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service. These findings support the contention that the marked decline in hospital-onset MRSA infections observed in these studies is due to interventions which are specifically targeted toward MRSA.

A case is made by Kavanagh (2019) that concerns with the integrity of healthcare policy research, along with industrial conflicts-of-interest have inhibited effective formulation of infectious disease policy in the United States. Because MRSA has become endemic in the general U.S. population (approximately 2%), the author advocates that universal facility-wide screening of MRSA on admission be included in infection prevention bundles used at U.S. hospital.

Reference: Kavanagh KT. Control of MSSA and MRSA in the United States: protocols, policies, risk adjustment and excuses. Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control. 2019;8:103