The rates of community-onset methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CO-MRSA) varied dramatically among academic medical centers in California, New York, Illinois and North Carolina, suggesting there is not a uniform change in the “national epidemic” of the “superbug” that has generated extensive public health concern over the past decade, according to a new study.
The study surveyed hospital records of 4,171 cases of MRSA and MRSA-related infections between 2008 and 2011 in five medical centers located in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New York City and Raleigh-Durham, NC.
The rates of MRSA acquired in the community declined 57% from 2008-2011 in the Los Angeles medical center. In contrast, CO-MRSA rates tripled at the New York medical center, while the rates remained stable in San Francisco, Chicago and Raleigh-Durham. At the same time, the rates for a MRSA-related infection, methicillin-susceptible S. aureus(MSSA), tended to change in the opposite direction from MRSA rates.
Since MRSA and MSSA rates moved in opposite directions, the authors concluded: “Enhanced infection control efforts are unlikely to account for such variation in community onset infection rates”
“These dramatic differences in the incidence and rate of change in the number of MRSA and MSSA infections indicate ongoing, fundamental changes in bacterial ecology, which need further study to protect public health,” said Brad Spellberg, MD, a Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) infectious disease specialist and senior author of the study. “Fully understanding MRSA, MSSA and other antibiotic-resistant infections is essential to finding new approaches to save the lives and protect the health of our patients here and around the world.”