Initiative Battles MRSA Burden

Published Online: Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Fatal infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are on the rise both in hospitals and in the community. As a result, an interdisciplinary group of public health, industry, and infectious disease experts have formed the MRSA Leadership Initiative. The collaborative effort, supported by Pfizer Inc, will focus on global prevention and management of the MRSA burden through the creation of public and professional awareness and education programs; clinical, epidemiologic, and outcomes research; and projects targeted toward prevention among highrisk populations.

Until recently, MRSA infections usually were found in hospitals. The cost associated with treatment for hospitalized patients with such infections has been estimated to range between $3.2 billion and $4.2 billion annually in the United States. The landscape of MRSA is changing, with an increase in occurrences in hospitals and communities throughout the world. Statistics have shown that MRSA incidence rates as a percentage of S aureus infections in many intensive care units have risen from 2% to ~60% over the past 30 years. Furthermore, community outbreaks have been found in sports teams and prisons and are linked with close skin-to-skin contact, open cuts or wounds, and bad hygiene.

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