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MRSA Tracking

CDC scientists track the number and kind of MRSA infections throughout the country using CDC’s two complimentary systems.  Together, these systems give CDC, other Federal agencies such as CMS, health departments and healthcare facilities information to better understand where MRSA infections are happening and where to put resources to help stop infections.

  • National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) – Information sent from healthcare facilities to NHSN allows CDC to determine how healthcare facilities overall are performing against national infection prevention goals.  It also allows CDC, health departments and facilities the ability to identify, report, and help specific facilities and units with high infection rates.
  • Emerging Infections Program (EIP) – Using information from several locations throughout the country, CDC estimates the national burden of MRSA and can identify people most at risk. This system includes MRSA infections that happen in both the general community and in healthcare facilities.

HHS Action Plan – CDC is working with healthcare facilities to meet the goals set forth in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-associated Infections.

CDC also publishes MRSA and other healthcare-associated infection data by state.

CMS uses NHSN data to publicly report MRSA and other healthcare quality data by facility.

National Estimates and Adjusted Incidence Rates of Invasive MRSA Infections
Epidemiologic Category Estimated Cases of Infection
Non-Dialysis Patients Dialysis Patients Total
Estimated No. Incidence Rate (Confidence Interval)a Estimated No. Incidence Rate (Confidence Interval)b Estimated No. Incidence Rate (Confidence Interval)c
CA 16,522 5.18 (4.03-6.79) 0 0 16,522 5.18 (4.03-6.79)
HCA 44,627 14.01 (12.17-16.29) 10,517 2332.86 (1713.77-3152.92) 55,144 17.30 (14.57-20.72)
HCA-HOd 10,130 3.18 (2.33-4.40) 803 178.12 (55.45-462.27) 10,933 3.43 (2.41-5.05)
HCA-HACO 34,497 10.83 (9.26-12.81) 9,714 2154.74 (1563.82-2935.10) 44,211 13.87 (11.46-16.95)
Overalle 61,927 19.45 (17.16-22.18) 10,517 2332.86 (1713.77-3152.92) 72,444 22.72 (19.56-26.61)

CA: community-associated (not linked to inpatient medical care, e.g. in a hospital, nursing home, dialysis facility, etc.)
HCA: healthcare-associated (linked to receiving inpatient medical care, e.g. in a hospital, nursing home or dialysis facility, etc.)
HCA-CO: healthcare-associated, community onset (these infections are linked to recent inpatient medical care (e.g. in a hospital or nursing home), but the infection was identified when the patient was back in the general community (e.g. at home))
HCA–HACO: healthcare-associated, hospital onset (these infections were linked to and identified during recent inpatient medical care, e.g. in a hospital or nursing home, receiving dialysis)

aNational Estimates and Incidence (no. per 100,000 population per year) are adjusted for age, race, gender and receipt of chronic dialysis using 2014 US Census Data.
bNational Estimates and Incidence (no. per 100,000 dialysis patients per year) for dialysis patients are adjusted for age, race and gender using 2013 USRDS point prevalence data.
cStarting in 2011, confidence intervals on national estimates were calculated based on 72 age/race/gender/dialysis specific strata and summarized for an overall national estimate, accounting for variance across all strata producing a more conservative estimate (with wider confidence intervals) compared to estimates prior to 2011.
dNon-dialysis and dialysis estimated number and incidence based on data from a sample of HO cases.
e47 cases could not be classified into an epidemiological category or category is unknown and therefore are counted in the overall estimate only.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Active Bacterial Core Surveillance Report, Emerging Infections Program Network, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, 2014 [PDF – 152 KB].

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Additional Information

Studies show that about one in three (33%) people carry staph in their nose, usually without any illness. Two in 100 people carry MRSA. There are not data showing the total number of people who get MRSA skin infections in the community.

Although MRSA is still a major patient threat, a CDC study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine showed that invasive (life-threatening) MRSA infections in healthcare settings are declining. Invasive MRSA infections that began in hospitals declined 54% between 2005 and 2011, with 30,800 fewer severe MRSA infections. In addition, the study showed 9,000 fewer deaths in hospital patients in 2011 versus 2005.

This study (or report) complements data from the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) that found rates of MRSA bloodstream infections occurring in hospitalized patients fell nearly 50% from 1997 to 2007.

Taken together and with other reports such as the March 2011 CDC Vital Signs article [PDF – 2.75 MB], and a 2013 study showing a decrease in overall central line-associated bloodstream infections, these studies provide evidence that rates of hospital-onset, severe MRSA infections in the United States are falling. While MRSA remains an important public health problem and more remains to be done to further decrease risks of developing these infections, this decrease in healthcare-associated MRSA infections is encouraging.

For more information about CDC surveillance programs and reports related to MRSA, visit:

To see how states are working to prevent HAIs including MRSA, view this interactive map of state-based prevention activities.

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