Do your parents and teachers bug you about washing your hands? They probably have, and it’s good advice because cleaning your hands is a great way to prevent infection with bacteria and viruses. One of the bacteria that can live on the skin, called Staphylococcus aureus, can cause infections in healthy people. When this bacteria becomes resistant to common antibiotics, it is called methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA).
MRSA can cause minor skin infections but also more severe infections that can kill. In fact, MRSA is the leading cause of death due to antibiotic-resistant infections in the US. We wanted to see how the number of hospitalizations due to this superbug changed over time. We analyzed records of patients in the hospital with this infection in the US from 2010 to 2014 and found out that hospitalization rates decreased for mild infections caused by MRSA, while rates for more severe MRSA infections remained constant.