Experts: US needs more comprehensive MRSA tracking system

The United States currently lacks a uniform way to track methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections, which can complicate the formulation of containment efforts like antibiotic stewardship or chlorhexidine bathing, according to a report published in Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control.

There are five major epidemiology reports that track and report MRSA infections. However, they all study MRSA in different patient populations and care settings and use different methods to gather data, making comparisons between them difficult.

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For instance, a study from Veterans Affairs medical centers, which involved only Tricare patients treated at military facilities, found a 43 percent decrease in hospital-onset MRSA bacteremia infections. Meanwhile, three other studies using different data sources and different MRSA definitions found increases during the same time period.

"This lack of uniformity of MRSA reporting has hindered the United States' ability to formulate control strategies," according to the report. For instance, it is still unknown if a daily chlorhexidine bathing process or if screening and isolation/decolonization is more effective at decreasing MRSA instances.

"A comprehensive tracking system would be critical in providing data to answer this question," the report concludes.

More articles on MRSA:
Study: MRSA pneumonia cases among hospitalized US patients on the decline
Chlorhexidine gluconate baths can help reduce MRSA by up to 55%, study shows
A superbug in space: NASA sends MRSA bacteria to International Space Station

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