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Eleventh VRSA Case in U.S. Diagnosed; CDC Urges Diligence

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, May 11, 2010

Healthcare providers are being advised to increase vigilance for cases of vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus after the 11th case in the U.S. was detected earlier this month in the joint of a patient with end-stage renal disease and diabetes.

Of the 10 other recognized cases, one occurred last year, two in 2007, one in 2006, three in 2005, one in 2004 and two in 2002, said the advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Because of exchange of genetic material from vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus auerus (MRSA) in the emergence of VRSA, CDC is asking clinical laboratories, when patients are identified with suspected or confirmed VRSA, to ensure that all VRE, MRSA, and VRSA isolates from these patients are saved. Following confirmation of VRSA, CDC recommends that all three isolate types (i.e., VRE, MRSA, and VRSA) be shared with public health partners, including CDC."

The CDC emphasized that this resistant strain of bacteria "continues to be a rare occurrence," but says that certain conditions predispose patients to be at risk. Those include prior MRSA and enterococcal infections or colonization, underlying conditions such as chronic skin ulcers and diabetes, and previous treatment with vancomycin.

Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.

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