MRSA on the retreat for now

Hospital-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections have declined 28 percent from 2005 to 2008, CDC researchers report in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. An estimated 90,000 infections are linked to health care each year in the United States, causing some 15,000 deaths, so the decline is welcome news to health officials and the public.

MRSA is often spread from person to person, especially via health care workers, Dr. Ross says. Doctors take their stethoscopes and go into a room and examine four patients. Male doctors would have their ties dragging around on patients. This was all true five years ago, but it s much less true now. That s why the rates of MRSA are going down, because hospital personnel are paying more attention to this method of transmission.

Noting the steps hospitals are taking to prevent MRSA, such as hand-washing, Dr. Whelan says, The most interesting thing about all of this is that these are not high-tech solutions, they re just basic hygiene.