Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website
Publication Briefs

JAMA Editorial: Responding to Decline in MRSA Infection

The emergence of MRSA (methicillin-resistant S aureus) began in the 1990s; since then, community-associated MRSA strains have increasingly caused hospital-onset and healthcare-associated, community-onset infections. However, the initial strains that predominated before 2001 have been replaced by unrelated strains that currently cause the majority of community-associated MRSA infections in the United States. This Editorial reports on the current status of MRSA infection rates – and what it may mean for the future.

Using data from 2005-2008, the CDC’s surveillance system, which encompasses about 15 million Americans in nine metropolitan areas, showed a continuous decline of invasive MRSA disease. This includes an estimated 9.4% annual decrease in hospital onset and an estimated 5.7% annual decrease in healthcare-associated community-onset infections. There are a variety of theories for these decreases, such as general infection control efforts (e.g., wider use of alcohol-based hand rubs). However, it may be presumptuous to assume that hospital-based prevention efforts have a major effect on the natural history of such a wide-spread pathogen. Natural biologic trends, such as the emergence and disappearance of specific clones, are likely to override the best-laid attempts at infection control.

Therefore, although the present decrease in MRSA may be used to argue for or against MRSA-specific vs. general infection prevention interventions, the authors suggest that these arguments would be missing the point. The decreases are occurring for a reason, and only by improving existing surveillance and prevention research programs can clinicians and infection control researchers begin to explain why.

PubMed Logo Perencevich E and Diekema D. Decline in invasive MRSA infection: Where to go from here? JAMA Editorial August 11, 2010(304(6):687-689.

Dr. Perencevich is part of HSR&D’s Center for Research in Implementation of Innovative Strategies in Practice, Iowa City, IA.

Related Briefs

» next 27 Prevention Briefs...

What are HSR Publication Briefs?

HSR requires notification by HSR-funded investigators about all articles accepted for publication. These journal articles are reviewed by HSR and publication briefs or summaries are written for a select number of articles that are then forwarded to VHA Central Office leadership to keep them informed about important findings or information. Articles to be summarized are selected by HSR based on timeliness of the findings, interest of leadership, or potential impact on the organization. Publication briefs are written for only a small number of HSR published articles. Visit the HSR citations database for a complete listing of HSR articles and presentations.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.