Assignment: Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus

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Assignment: Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus

Assignment: Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus

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Hospitals Should Screen Patients for MRSA to Prevent Infections

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 19,000 Americans died in 2005 from Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections acquired in hospitals and other health care settings.1 MRSA is resistant to many available antibiotics and is spreading quickly in healthcare facilities across the country. Unfortunately, most hospitals are not taking the steps they need to stem the alarming incidence of MRSA.

Staphylococcus aureus, or “staph,” is a bacterium that is found on the skin or in the nose of an estimated 25 percent of the population.2 Individuals who are colonized with staph are normally healthy and without any symptoms, although they may experience minor skin infections. In the hospital, staph can cause more serious infections, such as surgical wound infections, bloodstream infections, and pneumonia.

Staph infections are usually treated with methicillin, but some staph bacteria have developed a resistance to this and other antibiotics. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are becoming more common. In 1974, only two percent of staph infections in hospitals were caused by MRSA. By 2004, MRSA infections made up nearly 63 percent of all staph infections in healthcare settings.3

MRSA Infections Are Widespread

In June 2007, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) released the first-ever nationwide analysis on the prevalence of MRSA in U.S. healthcare facilities based on data collected from more than 1,200 hospitals in all 50 states. The APIC report found that MRSA hospital-acquired infections are 8.6 times more prevalent than previous estimates and those MRSA infections are found in all wards throughout most hospitals. This is significant as APIC found that less than half (45 percent) of hospitals are tracking infections throughout the hospital – the rest are focusing only on intensive care, surgical, or high risk nursery patients.4

An estimated 95,000 people developed MRSA infections in 2005, according to CDC researchers.5 Hospitalizations due to MRSA infections have doubled in recent years. Between 1999 and 2005, the number of patients hospitalized with MRSA infections went from 127,000 to almost 280,000.6

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