Treatment for MRSA no longer more costly than for susceptible Staph aureus infections

May 10, 2018, Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A new study from the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP), with collaborators from Johns Hopkins University and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, found that infections caused by one of the most common drug resistant bacteria in the US—methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as MRSA—are no more expensive to treat than MSSA, the methicillin-susceptible version of the same bacteria. These findings, published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases, are contrary to earlier studies that have found that MRSA was much more expensive to treat than MSSA.

The researchers used national hospitalization data to analyze the costs of treating diagnosed with S. aureus infections from 2010 through 2014. Costs were assessed in aggregate and by three types: S. aureus blood stream infections, S. aureus pneumonia infections, and other S. aureus infections, primarily skin and . Surprisingly, MSSA infections were found to be costlier than MRSA infections across all infection types. However, after controlling for differences in the patient populations infected with MRSA and MSSA, only skin and soft tissue MSSA infections were estimated to be costlier - while for other infection sites the costs were similar.

"Contrary to historical studies at the hospital-level, which suggested that MRSA infections were significantly more expensive that MSSA infections, nationally we found that MRSA-related hospitalization costs were approximately the same as or less expensive than hospitalizations with MSSA infections," according to the study's lead author Dr. Eili Klein, Research Fellow at CDDEP. However, researchers noted that patients with MRSA infections had a greater likelihood of mortality than patients with MSSA.

One potential reason for the convergence in costs of treating MSSA and MRSA is the emergence and spread of community-associated strains of MRSA. These strains, which are genetically distinct from hospital-associated strains and have different infection patterns and antibiotic susceptibilities, surged in the early 2000s. This may have led physicians to empirically treat all potential S. aureus infections as if they were MRSA, which may have improved outcomes and costs for treating infected MRSA patients while increasing costs for treatment of MSSA patients.

The study was unable to determine if the change was a function of improved diagnostic tests, better empiric prescribing, or changes in hospital infection control. "Changes in the health insurance system may have also affected hospital care and treatment ," continued Dr. Klein. "Further research is needed to better understand the underlying reasons for the change and the implications of this research for the broader crisis of antibiotic resistance."

Explore further: Pediatric musculoskeletal MRSA infections on the rise

Related Stories

Pediatric musculoskeletal MRSA infections on the rise

October 26, 2013
Pediatric musculoskeletal Staphylococcus aureus bacterial infections have been evolving over the past decade, with more children diagnosed with the more virulent, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) today than ...

Staph sepsis increases mortality in preterm infants

March 12, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Only about 1 percent of very low birth weight (VLBW) infants develop methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, and the morbidity and mortality are similar to that seen in infants with methicillin-susceptible ...

Socio-economic factors affect disease spread

February 12, 2014
Maori and Pacific people are at highest risk of an increasing rate of Staphylococcus aureus disease in New Zealand.

MRSA rates varied dramatically across geographic areas

June 2, 2014
The rates of community-onset methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CO-MRSA) varied dramatically among academic medical centers in California, New York, Illinois and North Carolina, suggesting there is not a uniform ...

Relative proportion of MRSA increasing in S. aureus isolates

April 18, 2013
(HealthDay)—The relative proportion of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is increasing in S. aureus isolates, and methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, ...

Superbug MRSA identified in US wastewater treatment plants

November 5, 2012
A team led by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health has found that the "superbug" methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is prevalent at several U.S. wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). ...

Recommended for you

Researchers find infectious prions throughout eyes of patients with deadly sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

November 20, 2018
By the time symptoms of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) are typically discovered, death is looming and inevitable. But, in a new study, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine with colleagues ...

Researchers a step closer to understanding how deadly bird flu virus takes hold in humans

November 19, 2018
New research has taken a step towards understanding how highly pathogenic influenza viruses such as deadly bird flu infect humans.

Infants born to obese mothers risk developing liver disease, obesity

November 16, 2018
Infant gut microbes altered by their mother's obesity can cause inflammation and other major changes within the baby, increasing the risk of obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease later in life, according to researchers ...

New study shows NKT cell subsets play a large role in the advancement of NAFLD

November 16, 2018
Since 2015 it has been known that the gut microbiota could have a direct impact on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which affects up to 12% of adults and is a leading cause of chronic liver disease. In the November ...

Antibiotic prescribing influenced by team dynamics within hospitals

November 15, 2018
Antibiotic prescribing by doctors is influenced by team dynamics and cultures within hospitals.

Discovery suggests new route to fight infection, disease

November 14, 2018
New research reveals how a single protein interferes with the immune system when exposed to the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease, findings that could have broad implications for development of medicines to fight ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.