Staph infections, particularly the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain, are now endemic in hospitals, according to a study to be published in the December issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Hospitalizations related to MRSA nearly doubled to 280,000 from 127,000 between 1999 and 2005. At the same time, hospitalizations of patients with other staph infections jumped 62%, according to the study. MRSA also is spreading among communitiesresearchers said the infection rate outside of hospitals is dramatic.
These findings indicate a change in the ecology of the disease. Antibiotic-resistant infections are spreading more rapidly in the community while the epidemic of drug-resistant infections in hospitals continues unabated, said senior author Ramanan Laxminarayan in a statement. He is a senior fellow with Resources for the Future, a Washington-based not-for-profit group that conducts research on issues related to public health, the environment, energy and natural resources.
Pointing to research indicating costs related to MRSA infections reaches $6 billion annually, the studys authors recommended the development of a national infection-rate reporting system and more research into the interaction between community- and hospital-acquired infections, as well as increased investment to develop a staph vaccine. (For more on infection issues, see the story An infectious groove .) -- by Jean DerGurahian
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