Commonly known as a “Superbug,” methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a frequent cause of infection in hospital and community settings. MRSA is resistant to many conventional antibiotic treatments making management of these infections particularly difficult. Because of MRSA’s ubiquitous presence and its changing epidemiology, it is a very important and challenging antibiotic-resistant pathogen.
CDDEP’s work on MRSA has examined trends in the burden of MRSA infections in the United States, finding a large increase in the number of MRSA hospitalizations that have occurred — a jump from about 125,000 hospitalizations in 1999 to 275,000 hospitalizations in 2005. CDDEP researchers have also examined the increasing role of the community in MRSA infections. MRSA has traditionally predominated as a cause of infection only in health care settings such as hospitals, however CDDEP researchers have found that, since the late 1990s, the proportion of Staphylococcus aureus bacteria that were community-associated MRSA increased seven-fold to nearly 30% 2006.