More on Quality and Safety

CDC urges hospitals to step up their protections, protocols against staph infections

In 2017, more than 119,000 bloodstream staph infections occurred and 20,000 people died with them.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

The CDC is urging providers to do more to combat staph infections, saying increased prevention in both healthcare and communities is needed to curb the often-deadly condition. New tactics and vigilance to what is already in place are needed, the agency said.

Several measures the CDC is urging for increased success combating staph include strict adherence to current recommendations for preventing device and procedure-related infections, the use of contact precautions like gloves and gowns, screening high-risk patients and focused decolonization efforts during high-risk periods like ICU stays, surgery or device use.


HIMSS20 Digital

Learn on-demand, earn credit, find products and solutions. Get Started >>

Reduced infection rates, mean simply, fewer deaths and serious illnesses in patients, possibly shortening the length of hospitals stays, improving care and outcomes and speeding recovery.


Staphylococcus aureus is a germ found on the skin and cause serious infections if it is allowed to enter the bloodstream, potentially causing sepsis or death. It is the leading cause of infections in U.S. healthcare facilities.

Data from the CDC also suggests hospitals must do more to curb these infections. Hospital-onset MRSA infection rates had dropped 17 percent each year but that slide stopped in 2013.

What's more, the rise of staph infections in communities may be attributable to opioid use. In 2016, 9 percent of all serious staph infections were in people who injected drugs, up from 4 percent in 2011. 

Staph either manifests as MRSA, methicillin-resistant staph or methicillin-susceptible staph. It can spread in and between healthcare facilities and in communities. Those who stay in such facilities, like hospitals, have a medical device in their body such as an IV, inject drugs or come in contact with a staph carrier, are at risk.


"Healthcare facilities can make MRSA and MSSA prevention a priority by assessing the facility's staph infection data, implementing prevention actions, and evaluating progress. Many hospitals have successfully prevented infections and spread. Ongoing assessment of facility data and implementation of prevention strategies are critical to this success," the CDC said.

Twitter: @BethJSanborn
Email the writer: