In an analysis of more than 300 microbiology labs serving hospitals all over the United States, researchers found that the proportion of MRSA cases in outpatients nearly doubled between 1999 and 2006. The study found that much of the growing burden of MRSA was associated with a greater proportion of newer “community-associated” strains of MRSA, which rose in outpatient units from 3.6 percent to 28.2 percent—amounting to a seven-fold jump during the study period. This increase threatens patient safety because doctors and patients often move back and forth between inpatient and outpatient units of the hospital. MRSA kills an estimated 20,000 people in the United States each year.
Eili Klein, David L. Smith, and Ramanan Laxminarayan