Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection in Australian hospitals: findings from a Victorian surveillance system

Med J Aust. 2014 Mar 17;200(5):282-4. doi: 10.5694/mja13.10599.


Objectives: To determine the burden of disease and trend over time for rates of Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream (SAB) infections in Victorian health care services.

Design and setting: Uniform data on all SAB infection events (methicillin-sensitive and methicillin-resistant isolates) were collected from all public and some private hospitals in Victoria using a standardised electronic data collection tool. Data were analysed for the period 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2012.

Main outcome measures: Overall and quarterly aggregate SAB and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) bloodstream infection rates per 10,000 occupied bed-days (OBDs); rates of health care-associated (HA) infections compared with a benchmark of no more than 2/10,000 OBDs.

Results: Data from 119 public and four private hospitals were analysed. The cumulative aggregate SAB infection rate was 1.0/10,000 OBDs (95% CI, 0.9-1.0/10,000 OBDs). Overall, 1335/3205 SAB infection events (41.7%) were health care-associated. Of these, 26.2% occurred within 48 hours of hospitalisation and were most frequently associated with an indwelling medical device. Quarterly HA-SAB infection rates diminished from 1.4 to 0.7/10,000 OBDs (P < 0.001). A median of four health care services each quarter exceeded the benchmark of 2.0/10,000 OBDs. HA-MRSA bloodstream infection rates diminished from 0.4 to 0.1/10,000 OBDs (P < 0.001), with a cumulative aggregate rate of 0.2/10,000 OBDs.

Conclusions: Continuous surveillance for SAB infection showed a significant reduction in rates across Victoria during the first 3 years of a coordinated program. Early onset, device-related SAB infections are an important target for prevention strategies.

MeSH terms

  • Catheter-Related Infections / epidemiology
  • Catheter-Related Infections / microbiology
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Hospitals, Private / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, Public / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
  • Population Surveillance
  • Sepsis / epidemiology*
  • Sepsis / microbiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / microbiology
  • Victoria / epidemiology