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21 Jan 2019

Community-acquired golden staph infections on the rise

Doherty Institute researchers have reported an increase of community-acquired Staphylococcus aureus, more commonly known as golden staph in Victoria and Western Australia.

Despite a decline of S. aureus infections in healthcare settings, during 2016 and 2017 there was an increase of reports of community-acquired infection to the Victorian Healthcare Associated Infection Surveillance System (VICNISS) and Healthcare Infection Surveillance Western Australia.

Led by VICNISS Acting Director, Associate Professor Leon Worth and retired VICNISS Director, Professor Mike Richards, the team analysed five years of data from 93 Victorian public hospitals and 58 Western Australian public hospitals.

Published today in the Medical Journal of Australia, the report stated that more than 10,000 golden staph infections were reported with 65.9 per cent of those being community-associated, with the incidence in each state increasing significantly during the study period, eight per cent per year in Victoria and six per cent per year in WA.

“The incidences of community-acquired infections were higher among older patients and in men, and was particularly high for men over 60, twice the incidence among women of the same age,” researchers reported.

The report stated that some infected patients would have been managed entirely in private health care facilities, meaning that “we will have underestimated the incidence of community-acquired S. aureus.

The research team recommended that further evaluation risks in people over 60 years of age is also needed for developing targeted prevention strategies.

To hear Associate Professor Leon Worth talk about this research in more depth, please listen to this Medical Journal of Australia Podcast.