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Patient Sharing Among Hospitals Could Impact Spread of Infectious Diseases

CDC MRSA photo Twenty-two percent of people who are discharged from acute-care hospitals are readmitted at different hospitals within one year, according to a study released today by the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine.  This has big implications for the spread of infectious diseases, as hospitals typically only track direct transfers of patients from one hospital to another.  Patients can carry organisms like MRSA for long periods of time, even if they aren't actively experiencing symptoms of infection.  As a result, they can bring these organisms with them from one facility to another, even with gaps between admissions.

The study was conducted by Susan S. Huang, MD, MPH, assistant professor and hospital epidemiologist and colleagues, and funded by both UC Irvine and the National Institutes of Health's Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS).  The study analyzed nearly 240,000 patient admissions at 31 acute care hospitals in Orange County, CA using a retrospective evaluation of 2005 California Hospital Discharge Data.


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