Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA): Burden of disease and control challenges in Europe

R. Köck, K. Becker, B. Cookson, J.E. van Gemert-Pijnen, S. Harbarth, J. Kluytmans, M. Mielke, G. Peters, R.L. Skov, M.J. Struelens, E. Tacconelli, A. Navarro Torné, W. Witte, A.W. Friedrich

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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major cause of healthcare- and community-associated infections worldwide. Within the healthcare setting alone, MRSA infections are estimated to affect more than 150,000 patients annually in the European Union (EU), resulting in attributable extra in-hospital costs of EUR 380 million for EU healthcare systems. Pan-European surveillance data on bloodstream infections show marked variability among EU Member States in the proportion of S. aureus that are methicillin- resistant, ranging from less than 1% to more than 50%. In the past five years, the MRSA bacteraemia rates have decreased significantly in 10 EU countries with higher endemic rates of MRSA infections. In addition to healthcare-associated infections, new MRSA strains have recently emerged as communityand livestock-associated human pathogens in most EU Member States. The prevention and control of MRSA have therefore been identified as public health priorities in the EU. In this review, we describe the current burden of MRSA infections in healthcare and community settings across Europe and outline the main threats caused by recent changes in the epidemiology of MRSA. Thereby, we aim at identifying unmet needs of surveillance, prevention and control of MRSA in Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
Issue number41
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2010


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