IDSA establishes guidelines to treat MRSA infections

January 14, 2011

The Infectious Diseases Society of America is set to release its first guidelines for the treatment of the increasingly common and potentially deadly methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) is set to release its first guidelines for the treatment of the increasingly common and potentially deadly methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection.

Physicians are treating more MRSA infections in otherwise healthy adults and children. Initially, MRSA infections were limited to hospitals and other healthcare facilities. It is responsible for about 60% of skin infections seen in emergency rooms.

The guidelines, which will be published in the February 1 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, are intended to guide physicians in their use of antibiotics for treatment. The current treatment varies widely.

The guidelines address treatment of common MRSA infections, which are frequently mistaken for spider bites. They also address treatment of invasive MRSA, which is less common but far more serious. Invasive MRSA was responsible for about 18,000 deaths in 2005.

“It’s important to remember that management of all MRSA infections should include identifying and eliminating the primary source or other sites of infection,” Catherine Liu, MD, lead author of the guidelines and assistant clinical professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco, told Formulary. “While antibiotics are a critical piece, there are other key components to the treatment of these infections. In some cases, such as simple skin abscesses or boils, antibiotics are not needed and drainage alone is sufficient.”