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Invasive infections caused by have high clinical and epidemiological relevance. It is therefore important to monitor the trends using suitable methods.


The study aimed to describe the trends of bloodstream infections (BSI) caused by meticillin-resistant (MRSA) and meticillin-susceptible (MSSA) in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA).


Annual data on BSI from 2005 to 2018 were obtained from the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Network (EARS-Net). Trends of BSI were assessed at the EU/EEA level by adjusting for blood culture set rate (number of blood culture sets per 1,000 days of hospitalisation) and stratification by patient characteristics.


Considering a fixed cohort of laboratories consistently reporting data over the entire study period, MRSA percentages among BSI decreased from 30.2% in 2005 to 16.3% in 2018. Concurrently, the total number of BSI caused by increased by 57%, MSSA BSI increased by 84% and MRSA BSI decreased by 31%. All these trends were statistically significant (p < 0.001).


The results indicate an increasing health burden of MSSA BSI in the EU/EEA despite a significant decrease in the MRSA percentage. These findings highlight the importance of monitoring antimicrobial resistance trends by assessing not only resistance percentages but also the incidence of infections. Further research is needed on the factors associated with the observed trends and on their attributable risk.


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