We've been hearing terrifying stories about MRSA for years. Ask anybody in the health care industry, and they'll tell you MRSA is a source of great trepidation. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is incredibly hard to kill, and thanks to its toughness against antibiotics, it tends to spread like wildfire in hospitals and nursing homes.
For years, people have been predicting a MRSA epidemic — so it's incredibly good news that even though MRSA is still responsible for thousands of infections every year, it might be on the wane.
Top image: A petri dish full of normal bacterial, and one with MRSA. Via AP Photos.
Researchers working with data from the US Military Health System from 2005-2010 have noticed a drop in MRSA infections — both in those who got it from the community and from hospitals. By analyzing the incidence of MRSA, both as the bacterium directly and the skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) it can cause, the percentage of these infections that are due to MRSA seems to be dropping.
The rate of community-caused SSTI from MRSA peaked in 2006 at 62% of infections — but by 2010, that had dropped to 52%, and the annual incidence community-onset and hospital-onset MRSA bacteremia also lowered.
This is hardly the defeat of an incredibly resilient bacterium — but any decline in such an unstoppable threat is worth celebrating.