Epidemiology and Economic Impact of Meticillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus: Review and Analysis of the Literature
Andrew F. Shorr
In the past 2 decades, meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has become an increasingly prevalent problem in healthcare, both in acute care institutions and in the community. MRSA is associated with worse outcomes and higher costs for care than meticillin sensitive S. aureus (MSSA). MRSA is a particular problem in several conditions, including hospital-acquired pneumonia (including ventilator-associated pneumonia), skin and soft tissue infections, and diabetic foot infections. Hospitalisation costs associated with MRSA infection are substantially greater than those associated with MSSA infection, and MRSA has wider economic effects that involve indirect costs to the patient and to society. In several countries, infection control programmes have shown potential economic benefits, as savings accruing from strict and effective control have been shown to outweigh the cost of policy implementation. Standard therapy is based on glycopeptide treatment, usually with vancomycin, although resistance to this agent has emerged. Alternative available treatments for MRSA include teicoplanin, tigecycline, daptomycin, quinupristin-dalfopristin and the oxazolidinone, linezolid, which has a higher acquisition cost than vancomycin but is available as intravenous and oral formulations. Despite some limitations of analyses to date, linezolid has been shown to be cost effective in the treatment of MRSA and appears to be related, in part, to the drug's potential for facilitating earlier discharge from hospital. Current opinion favours rational prescribing to maximise therapeutic benefit and minimise the risk of further antibacterial resistance.
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