Dramatic drop in MRSA found
Bloodstream infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, have dropped 50 percent in the last decade, at least...
Los Angeles Times
Bloodstream infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, have dropped 50 percent in the last decade, at least for one high-risk medical procedure, according to a new study.
The finding, although limited to a single procedure in the intensive-care units (ICU) of hospitals surveyed — insertion of a central line, or catheter, into a major blood vessel — runs contrary to the widespread perception of MRSA as an out-of-control hospital superbug.
"This study shows that at least in one facet of health-care-associated infections, things seem to be moving in the right direction, and that's a good thing for patient safety," said study co-author Dr. John Jernigan, an epidemiologist at the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Are we all the way there yet? No."
The study appears in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.
MRSA catapulted to the general public's attention two years ago when infectious-disease experts estimated it causes 19,000 deaths a year and 85 percent of the infections are contracted in health-care settings.
A central line is a catheter, or tube, inserted into one of the main blood vessels close to the heart. It is used to administer medications and monitor blood and heart pressures. Inserting this, and other devices, punctures the skin's protective barrier and allow microbes that may be harmless on the outside into areas where they can cause harm.
The new study was drawn from data on central-line bloodstream infections reported voluntarily to the CDC from more than 1,600 intensive care units.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
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