Tuesday, August 10, 2010

MRSA in decline

Today’s news is the JAMA publication of CDC surveillance data showing a steady decrease in healthcare-associated MRSA infections from 2005-2008. Eli and I wrote the accompanying editorial, so I refer you to that for our commentary on this. We may have more on this later.

JAMA article
Our editorial
NPR story (click link to listen)
Reuter’s Health story


  1. A colleague suggested to me that your editorial basically stated that the results in the paper (that MRSA actually went down)shouldn't be understood that way, i.e., that MRSA rates were not shown to have gone down in a meaningful way. Is this a correct reading? I didn't read it that way.

  2. Thanks for the query. As you suspect, we didn't mean the editorial to be understood in that way. The MRSA decline reported by CDC seems real. Though one could question the generalizability from the EIP/ABC sites to the rest of the country, the population surveilled was quite large, and the data are consistent with other data from U.S. and other countries (and with anectodal reports we've been hearing from colleagues and other investigators). So we think that it's real, and meaningful.

    What we tried to convey was that MRSA is only one kind of S. aureus....and S. aureus is only one of many bacteria that cause life threatening infections in hospitals. So we need to keep our eyes on the whole forest, not just one species of tree--this means expanding surveillance to include all disease-causing S. aureus, as well as other important hospital pathogens.

    We also have way more work to do in determining what factors are most important in this decline, and how many of them are under our control.

  3. Thanks for the clarification. This helps a lot.