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Pre-pregnancy diabetes increases risk of MRSA among new mothers

01 July 2013 Elsevier

Pregnant women with diabetes are more than three times as likely as mothers without diabetes to become infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) before hospital discharge, according to a study in the July issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, the official publication of the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

The study aim was to investigate the extent to which pre-pregnancy and gestational diabetes are associated with MRSA infection. Researchers found that pre-pregnancy diabetes was associated with increased risk of MRSA following delivery, but found no association between MRSA and gestational diabetes.

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles analyzed more than 3.5 million delivery-related hospital admissions from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS), a system that accounts for 20 percent of community hospitals in the United States. Of these admissions, 5.3 percent of mothers (185,514 women) acquired diabetes during their pregnancy (gestational diabetes) and nearly one percent (28,939) had pre-pregnancy diabetes. The researchers identified 563 cases of invasive MRSA among the mothers following delivery. To the extent that infection site information was available, the most frequent sources of infection were skin (30.9 percent), urinary tract (6.4 percent), other genitourinary sites (5.2 percent), wound infections (3.0 percent) and septicemia (2.0 percent). 

“When combined with previous research showing increased risk of certain infections in diabetic persons, it seems likely that diabetic women are at increased risk of MRSA infection compared with other women admitted for delivery of an infant,” conclude the authors. “As we wait for further research on this topic, it might seem prudent for hospitals to be vigilant about possible MRSA risk among diabetic women in labor and delivery.”

MRSA is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics and is an important cause of illness and sometimes death, especially among patients who have been hospitalized.

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