More than 119,000 people suffered from bloodstream staph infections in the United States in 2017 and nearly 20,000 people died, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The findings show hospital infection control efforts reduced rates of serious staph infections but recent data show that the success is slowing, and staph still threatens patients. The rise may be linked to the opioid crisis. The CDC reported last year that 9 % of all serious staph infections in 2016 happened in people who inject drugs, up from 4 percent in 2011.
"We think that while individual hospitals, health care facilities, communities, and certainly the VA system may be continuing to make progress, the national plateau that we are seeing probably stems from dropping off in using the intensive recommendations," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC.
"Staph infections are a serious threat and can be deadly," CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said in a news release. "U.S. hospitals have made significant progress, but this report tells us that all staph infections must remain a prevention priority for healthcare providers."
Those who are at most risk for staph include people who are in health care facilities or who have surgery, those who are in close contact with someone who has staph and people who use injectable drugs.
CDC is calling for increased prevention to protect patients. To decrease staph infections in people who inject drugs, healthcare providers should link patients with drug-addiction treatment services and provide information on safe injection practices, wound care and how to recognize early signs of infection.