Health protection – collection

Staphylococcus aureus: guidance, data and analysis

The characteristics, diagnosis, management, surveillance and epidemiology of Staphylococcus aureus.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that commonly colonises human skin and mucosa without causing any problems. It can also cause disease, particularly if there is an opportunity for the bacteria to enter the body, for example through broken skin or a medical procedure.

If the bacteria enter the body, illnesses which range from mild to life-threatening may then develop. These include skin and wound infections, infected eczema, abscesses or joint infections, infections of the heart valves (endocarditis), pneumonia and bacteraemia (blood stream infection).

Most strains of S. aureus are sensitive to the more commonly used antibiotics, and infections can be effectively treated. Some S. aureus bacteria are more resistant. Those resistant to the antibiotic meticillin are termed meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and often require different types of antibiotic to treat them. Those that are sensitive to meticillin are termed meticillin susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA). MRSA and MSSA only differ in their degree of antibiotic resistance: other than that there is no real difference between them.

Diagnosis and management

  1. MRSA: screening and suppression guidance for primary care

    • Guidance
  2. MRSA: information for patients

    • Guidance
  3. PVL-Staphylococcus aureus infections: diagnosis and management for primary care

    • Guidance
  4. Who to screen for MRSA

    • Guidance
  5. MRSA in patients with renal failure

    • Guidance

Epidemiology

PHE has carried out mandatory enhanced surveillance of MRSA bacteraemia since October 2005 and of MSSA bacteraemia since January 2011 for NHS acute trusts; patient-level data of any MRSA and MSSA bacteraemias are reported monthly to PHE. Independent sector (IS) healthcare organisations providing regulated activities also undertake surveillance of MRSA and MSSA bacteraemia.

From 1 April 2013, all NHS organisations reporting positive cases of MRSA bacteraemia are required to complete a Post Infection Review (PIR)

  1. MRSA bacteraemia: monthly data by post infection review assignment

    • National Statistics
  2. MRSA bacteraemia: monthly data by attributed clinical commissioning group

    • National Statistics
  3. MRSA bacteraemia: annual data

    • Official Statistics
  4. MSSA bacteraemia: monthly data by NHS acute trust

    • National Statistics
  5. MSSA bacteraemia: monthly data by attributed clinical commissioning group

    • National Statistics
  6. MSSA bacteraemia: annual data

    • Official Statistics
  7. Staphylococcus aureus: annual trends in voluntary surveillance

    • Research and analysis
  8. MRSA, MSSA and E. coli bacteraemia and C. difficile infection: annual epidemiological commentary

    • Official Statistics
  9. MRSA, MSSA and E. coli bacteraemia and C. difficile infection: quarterly epidemiological commentary

    • National Statistics
  10. MRSA, MSSA and E. coli bacteraemia and Clostridium difficile infection: 6-monthly data for independent sector healthcare organisations

    • Official Statistics
  11. MRSA, MSSA and E. coli bacteraemia and Clostridium difficile infection: annual data for independent sector healthcare organisations

    • Official Statistics
  12. MRSA, MSSA and E. coli bacteraemia and C. difficile infection: 30 day all-cause fatality

    • Research and analysis

Official statistics compliance

Healthcare associated infections (HCAI) mandatory surveillance statistics publications are produced in accordance with the code of practice for official statistics and are designated as National Statistics. Below are data-specific documents which describe our compliance with aspects of the Code.

User engagement

Summary of user engagement collates evidence from mandatory HCAI surveillance statistics users. It includes:

  • a summary of how the statistics are used
  • views on how provision of the statistics meets the needs of users
  • our actions in response to user feedback

We will update this document as we receive further user feedback.

Minutes of the HCAI Mandatory Surveillance Stakeholder Engagement Forum:

  1. Pre-release access list: mandatory HCAI statistical releases

    • Guidance
  2. MRSA, MSSA and E. coli bacteraemia and C. difficile infection mandatory data: revisions and amendments policy

    • Guidance
  3. Mandatory healthcare associated infection (HCAI) surveillance: data quality statement

    • Guidance