The economic impact of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Canadian hospitals

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2001 Feb;22(2):99-104. doi: 10.1086/501871.


Objectives: To determine the costs associated with the management of hospitalized patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and to estimate the economic burden associated with MRSA in Canadian hospitals.

Design: Patient-specific costs were used to determine the attributable cost of MRSA associated with excess hospitalization and concurrent treatment. Excess hospitalization for infected patients was identified using the Appropriateness Evaluation Protocol, a criterion-based chart review process to determine the need for each day of hospitalization. Concurrent treatment costs were identified through chart review for days in isolation, antimicrobial therapy, and MRSA screening tests. The economic burden to Canadian hospitals was estimated based on 3,167,521 hospital discharges for 1996 and 1997 and an incidence of 4.12 MRSA cases per 1,000 admissions.

Setting: A tertiary-care, university-affiliated teaching hospital in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Patients: Inpatients with at least one culture yielding MRSA between April 1996 and March 1998.

Results: A total of 20 patients with MRSA infections and 79 colonized patients (with 94 admissions) were identified. This represented a rate of 2.9 MRSA cases per 1,000 admissions. The mean number of additional hospital days attributable to MRSA infection was 14, with 11 admissions having at least 1 attributable day. The total attributable cost to treat MRSA infections was $287,200, or $14,360 per patient The cost for isolation and management of colonized patients was $128,095, or $1,363 per admission. Costs for MRSA screening in the hospital were $109,813. Assuming an infection rate of 10% to 20%, we determined the costs associated with MRSA in Canadian hospitals to be $42 million to $59 million annually.

Conclusions: These results indicate that there is a substantial economic burden associated with MRSA in Canadian hospitals. These costs will continue to rise if the incidence of MRSA increases further.

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness
  • Cross Infection / economics*
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology
  • Drug Costs
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 500 and over
  • Hospital Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospitals, Teaching / economics
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Length of Stay / economics
  • Methicillin Resistance*
  • Ontario / epidemiology
  • Patient Isolation / economics
  • Staphylococcal Infections / economics*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / prevention & control*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*