Importance: Estimating the US burden of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections is important for planning and tracking success of prevention strategies.
Objective: To describe updated national estimates and characteristics of health care- and community-associated invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in 2011.
Design, setting, and participants: Active laboratory-based case finding identified MRSA cultures in 9 US metropolitan areas from 2005 through 2011. Invasive infections (MRSA cultured from normally sterile body sites) were classified as health care-associated community-onset (HACO) infections (cultured ≤ 3 days after admission and/or prior year dialysis, hospitalization, surgery, long-term care residence, or central vascular catheter presence ≤ 2 days before culture); hospital-onset infections (cultured >3 days after admission); or community-associated infections if no other criteria were met. National estimates were adjusted using US census and US Renal Data System data.
Main outcomes and measures: National estimates of invasive HACO, hospital-onset, and community-associated MRSA infections using US census and US Renal Data System data as the denominator.
Results: An estimated 80,461 (95% CI, 69,515-93,914) invasive MRSA infections occurred nationally in 2011. Of these, 48,353 (95% CI, 40,195-58,642) were HACO infections; 14,156 (95% CI, 10,096-20,440) were hospital-onset infections; and 16,560 (95% CI, 12,806-21,811) were community-associated infections. Since 2005, adjusted national estimated incidence rates decreased among HACO infections by 27.7% and hospital-onset infections decreased by 54.2%; community-associated infections decreased by only 5.0%. Among recently hospitalized community-onset (nondialysis) infections, 64% occurred 3 months or less after discharge, and 32% of these were admitted from long-term care facilities.
Conclusions and relevance: An estimated 30,800 fewer invasive MRSA infections occurred in the United States in 2011 compared with 2005; in 2011 fewer infections occurred among patients during hospitalization than among persons in the community without recent health care exposures. Effective strategies for preventing infections outside acute care settings will have the greatest impact on further reducing invasive MRSA infections nationally.