Fatal infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus(MRSA) are on the rise both in hospitalsand in the community. As aresult, an interdisciplinary group ofpublic health, industry, and infectiousdisease experts have formed the MRSALeadership Initiative. The collaborativeeffort, supported by Pfizer Inc,will focus on global prevention andmanagement of the MRSA burdenthrough the creation of public andprofessional awareness and educationprograms; clinical, epidemiologic, andoutcomes research; and projects targetedtoward prevention among highriskpopulations.
Until recently, MRSA infectionsusually were found in hospitals. Thecost associated with treatment forhospitalized patients with such infectionshas been estimated to rangebetween $3.2 billion and $4.2 billionannually in the United States. Thelandscape of MRSA is changing, withan increase in occurrences in hospitalsand communities throughout theworld. Statistics have shown thatMRSA incidence rates as a percentageof S aureus infections in many intensivecare units have risen from 2% to~60% over the past 30 years. Furthermore,community outbreaks havebeen found in sports teams and prisonsand are linked with close skin-to-skincontact, open cuts or wounds,and bad hygiene.