HHS A new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that hospital-associated infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) decreased significantly between 2005 and 2011 while the rate of MRSA infections contracted in the community barely changed.

According to an article published online in Pharmacy Times, researchers used data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Emerging Infections Program-Active Bacterial Core surveillance system (EIP-ABCs) which was initiated in 2005 to track and study invasive MRSA infections in community and hospital settings. In the study, infections were categorized as health care–associated community-onset infections, hospital-onset infections or community-associated infections depending on the presence of documented risk factors and the timing of the onset of infection in relation to possible hospitalizations.

Researchers used the EFP-ABC data, collected in nine metropolitan areas, to estimate national trends resulting from 2005 to 2011. During that period, the estimated rate of invasive MRSA decreased by 31.2 percent overall with health care–associated community-onset infections and hospital-onset infections dramatically decreasing by 27.7 percent and 54.2 percent, respectively. Community-associated infections, however, decreased only 5 percent. For the first time since the CDC began tracking invasive MRSA infections, occurrences of hospital-contracted MRSA were fewer than those contracted outside of healthcare facilities.

A true catalyst for the downward slide of these dangerous infections was not identified in the study, but its findings suggest that the United States is on target for meeting the Department of Health and Human Services’s 2013 goal of reducing MRSA infections by 50 percent.  While the study’s authors noted the positive impact of increased awareness and implementation of infection prevention initiatives in hospitals, they also acknowledged the need for even more research regarding the spread of MRSA especially in cases of community-associated infections.

To read the abstract for the study, “National Burden of Invasive Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Infections, United States, 2011,” click here.