Rates of golden staph bloodstream infections (SAB) continuing to drop in public hospitals

The national rate of Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) cases in public hospitals continues to drop, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

SAB is a serious bloodstream infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, that are also known as 'golden staph'. The condition is associated with hospital care-especially with surgical and other invasive procedures.

The latest report, Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in Australian public hospitals 2013-14: Australian hospital statistics shows the national rate of SAB dropped from 1.10 to 0.87 cases per 10,000 days of patient care between 2010-11 and 2013-14.

'Rates of SAB differed among the states and territories, but all jurisdictions had rates below the national benchmark of 2.0 cases per 10,000 days of patient care,' said AIHW spokesperson Jenny Hargreaves.

Rates of SAB ranged from 1.05 per 10,000 days of patient care in the Northern Territory to 0.56 per 10,000 days of patient care in South Australia.

Rates were higher than the national average in Principal referral hospitals. These hospitals generally provide a very broad range of services, including some highly specialised services, and are more likely to treat patients at risk of SAB than other hospitals.

'There were 1,621 cases of SAB reported in Australian public hospitals in 2013-14. Three in 4 cases were treatable with commonly used antibiotics and the remainder were antibiotic resistant,' Ms Hargreaves said.

The number of cases of SAB that were antibiotic resistant dropped from 505 to 389 cases between 2010-11 and 2013-14.

Australian Health Ministers endorsed the reporting of SAB to form a national data collection in December 2008.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 23 December 2014

Further information: Jenny Hargreaves, AIHW, tel. (02) 6244 1121, mob. 0407 012 520