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Logo of bmjThis ArticleThe BMJ
BMJ. 2007 November 10; 335(7627): 961.
PMCID: PMC2072020

Prevalence of MRSA in US hospitals hits new high

The number of cases of infection with methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in US hospitals rose to nearly 369 000 in 2005, new figures show—a rise of 30% from the 2004 figure.

The data, collated over the 13 years from 1993 to 2005, have been published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality ( They show that in 1993 fewer than 2000 MRSA infections were recorded in US hospitals.

Of the 368 600 patients treated in US hospitals in 2005 for MRSA, about 5% died, the report says. Most of these were elderly patients or people on low incomes.

Stays in hospital for such infections (whose origin—whether acquired in the community or in hospital—was not known to the authors) cost on average $14 000 (£6700; €9700), whereas the average cost for all other types of stay was $7600; and the average length of stay for MRSA infections (10 days) was more than double that for all other types of stay (4.6 days). Hospital stays for MRSA were more likely than other types of stay to begin in hospital emergency departments and to involve patients who were transferred from another hospital or from long term care settings.

The age group with the highest number of MRSA related hospital stays—361 in every 100 000 stays—was people aged 65 years or over. This number was more than three times that in any other age group: 115 per 100 000 stays in infants, 19 in patients aged between 1 and 17 years, 58 in 18-44 year olds, and 112 in 45-64 year olds.

The hospitals included in the survey accounted for 90% of all discharges in the US, and the database included uninsured as well as insured patients.


See Editorials doi: 10.1136/bmj.39373.465903.BE and BMJ 2007;335:850 doi: 10.1136/bmj.335.7625.850-b.

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