MRSA Infection Rates Higher in U.S. Than in U.K.

Americans are six times more at risk of contracting antibiotic resistant staph infections from their community than their British counterparts, according to a recent government study. 

Researchers working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the rate of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infections (BSIs) was much higher in U.S. communities than in U.K. communities, despite the fact that the rate of hospital-acquired infections linked to MRSA were about the same. The CDC announced its findings in a report published in the medical journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

MRSA resists a number of antibiotic treatments and is often referred to as the “superbug.” It was first detected in the U.K. several years before there were any known U.S. cases.

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Researchers conducting population-based surveillance found that the rate of community-acquired MRSA BSIs was 6.3 times higher in the U.S. than the U.K. There were 22 cases for every 100,000 people in the U.S., compared to 3.5 for every 100,000 in the U.K. Hospital-acquired MRSA infections were about even, the researchers reported. 

MRSA infections have accounted for more than 60 percent of hospital staph infections in the U.S. in recent years. The CDC reports that about 126,000 hospital MRSA infections occur each year, resulting in about 5,000 deaths. But some researchers suggest that the overall number of deaths from MRSA in the U.S. is closer to 20,000 annually once community-acquired MRSA infections are factored into the equation.

In recent years, there has been an increasing number of hospital infection lawsuits filed throughout the United States, as experts believe that most of these potentially life-threatening infections that develop in hospitals and medical centers can be prevented if steps are taken by the facility and staff.

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