Methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus nosocomial infection has a distinct epidemiological position and acts as a marker for overall hospital-acquired infection trends

Noelle I. Samia*, Ari Robicsek, Hans Heesterbeek, Lance R. Peterson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

An ongoing healthcare debate is whether controlling hospital-acquired infection (HAI) from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) will result in lowering the global HAI rate, or if MRSA will simply be replaced by another pathogen and there will be no change in overall disease burden. With surges in drug-resistant hospital-acquired pathogens during the COVID-19 pandemic, this remains an important issue. Using a dataset of more than 1 million patients in 51 acute care facilities across the USA, and with the aid of a threshold model that models the nonlinearity in outbreaks of diseases, we show that MRSA is additive to the total burden of HAI, with a distinct ‘epidemiological position’, and does not simply replace other microbes causing HAI. Critically, as MRSA is reduced it is not replaced by another pathogen(s) but rather lowers the overall HAI burden. The analysis also shows that control of MRSA is a benchmark for how well all non-S. aureus nosocomial infections in the same hospital are prevented. Our results are highly relevant to healthcare epidemiologists and policy makers when assessing the impact of MRSA on hospitalized patients. These findings further stress the major importance of MRSA as a unique cause of nosocomial infections, as well as its pivotal role as a biomarker in demonstrating the measured efficacy (or lack thereof) of an organization’s Infection Control program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number17007
JournalScientific reports
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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