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Independents' Day

MRSA threat greatest outside hospitals

The soaring threat of MRSA in the community is underlined by a new US study finding the infection arises far more often outside hospitals than within them.

The researchers branded MRSA a ‘major public health problem' no longer confined to healthcare institutions.

Pulse exclusively revealed last week that the Department of Health has approved a new primary care surveillance system to tackle the 90% increase in prescriptions for staphylo-coccal infections.

Experts believe that new strains of MRSA from the US and Australia will be a future threat to UK primary care.

The extent of the threat is shown in an analysis of patients with MRSA in nine US surveillance sites between July 2004 and December 2005.

There were 5,250 observed cases of community-onset MRSA infection, accounting for 58.4% of the 8,987 infections – more than twice the incidence of hospital-onset infections (26.6%).

True community-acquired MRSA infections – defined as cases in patients with no documented exposure to an invasive strain of MRSA, prior history of infections or hospitalisation in the preceding 12 months – accounted for 13.7%, or nearly one in eight, of all infections.

The study, published in JAMA last week, estimated the standardised mortality rate as 31.8 deaths from invasive MRSA infections per 100,000 of the population

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