MRSA Bloodstream infections

July to September 2021 data

* Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program

How is this measured?

Infection prevention and control staff look for new cases of healthcare-associated MRSA bloodstream infections that occur in the hospital and calculate the infection rates using the following:

MRSA Bloodstream Infection Rate = Number of MRSA bloodstream infections X 10,000
Number of inpatient days for the reporting quarter

What is MRSA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a type of bacteria or germ that lives on the skin and mucous membranes of healthy people. When Staphylococcus aureus develops resistance to certain antibiotics, it is called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. MRSA can either live on the skin or mucous membranes (e.g. nose) of a person without causing harm (called colonization), or it can enter the body through artificial openings, like a wound or an IV line, and cause infections. If MRSA gets into the blood it can cause a bloodstream infection. MRSA infections can be challenging to treat because the bacteria are resistant to some antibiotics.

How is MRSA spread?

MRSA spreads through contact with persons who have it on or in their body, or through contact with surfaces in the environment. Careful cleaning of the environment and hand hygiene are two of the steps that can be taken to reduce the spread of MRSA.

Why is this important?

Measuring, monitoring and reporting MRSA bloodstream infections can assist hospitals with evaluating the effectiveness of their infection prevention and control interventions and make further improvements based on this information.

What should the rate of MRSA bloodstream infections be?

It would be best to have no infections, however it may not be possible to prevent all infections caused by MRSA. Infection rates can vary from hospital to hospital, and from month to month. Rates may be different based on the types of hospitals, the care they provide and the patients they serve. The rates provided here are not meant for hospitals to compare themselves against each other, or for the public to use to decide where they should get health care.

A benchmark provides a standard rate or "average" of infection. We can use this benchmark to see if our rates are above or below this average. The Canadian Nosocomial Infection Surveillance Program national benchmark is 0.57 (rate per 10,000 patient days).

What can I do to help?

Healthy people are at low risk of getting MRSA.

If you or a family member are a patient in a hospital, additional precautions will be needed. This means there will be a sign on your door or bed space that tells hospital staff caring for you to wear a gown and gloves. Your room or bed space and any equipment removed from your room will be cleaned frequently to reduce the risk of spreading MRSA from you to another patient.

There are a few simple things you can do to help:

  • Remind all staff caring for you to clean their hands when they enter your room and when they leave;
  • When family or friends visit you, it is important they clean their hands frequently during the visit and again when they leave.
  • Clean your hands after you use the toilet, before you eat, before touching your dressing, and when visibly soiled;
  • If you have an intravenous line (IV) make sure you and your care providers, both in hospital and at home, practice safe care and clean their hands when they need to touch it or use it.
  • Talk to your care provider, such as your nurse or doctor, if you have any questions.


Read the Protocol for MRSA Bloodstream Infection Surveillance.