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MRSA Kills 1 in 20 Hospital Patients Who Have the Infection

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AHRQ News and Numbers

Release date: October 24, 2007

One of every 20 (or 5 percent) of the roughly 368,600 patients treated in U.S. hospitals in 2005 for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus MRSA) died, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Most of the patients who died of this highly dangerous antibiotic resistant staphylococcus infection were elderly or low income.

The death rate for hospitalized MRSA patients was higher than the 4 percent death rate for hospitalized tuberculosis patients, another potentially deadly illness.

AHRQ also found that

  • Approximately 332 Medicare patients per 100,000 were hospitalized for MRSA compared to 184 Medicaid patients and 29 patients with private insurance. The rate for uninsured patients was 43 admissions per 100,000 people.
  • Men were more likely to be hospitalized for MRSA (107 admissions per 100,000) than were women (92 admissions).
  • People in the South were 27 percent more likely (113 admissions per 100,000) to be hospitalized for MRSA than those in the Northeast and Midwest (89 admissions per 100,000 population). People in the West fell in between (96 admissions per 100,000).

This AHRQ News & Numbers summary is based on data in Infections with Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) in U.S. Hospitals, 1993-2005, Statistical Brief No. 35. (PDF Help). The report uses statistics from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

For more information, or to speak with an AHRQ data expert, contact Bob Isquith at or call (301) 427-1539.

Current as of October 2007


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