IDSA establishes guidelines to treat MRSA infections

January 18, 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. MRSA is responsible for approximately 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 protocols vary 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 is responsible for about 18,000 deaths annually.

“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, told Drug Topics. Liu is lead author of the guidelines and assistant clinical professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco. “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.”