Invasive infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have become a focus of national attention over the past several years due to their potentially lethal complications and reports indicating that their frequency is on the rise in most US hospitals. Hospitalizations with infections due to MRSA steadily increased between 2000 and 2005, nearly doubling in many areas of the country.1 Klevens et al2 estimated that up to 18 650 deaths in the United States in 2005 may have been associated with invasive MRSA infection. These statistics coupled with the increasing number of outbreaks of MRSA infections in community settings have helped ignite a contentious public debate about the best means of control, including calls for increased surveillance for MRSA infections, new prevention activities such as screening of all patients admitted to hospitals to detect colonization with MRSA (universal screening), and public reporting of hospital-acquired MRSA infections.
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