A COVID-19 patient using a ventilator rests while his blood goes through a kidney dialysis machine (L) on the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) floor at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center on April 21, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.
Robert Nickelsberg | Getty Images
Hispanic dialysis patients face a 40% higher risk of developing a staph bloodstream infection compared with whites, underscoring economic and racial disparities in the U.S. health-care system, according to new data released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Adults on dialysis for kidney failure were 100 times more likely to contract staph bloodstream infections compared with the general U.S. population, the CDC said. Needles and catheters are used to connect patients to dialysis, and bacteria like staph can enter a patient’s bloodstream during the process. Staph infections are serious and sometimes deadly.
More than 800,000 people in the U.S. are living with kidney failure, 70% of whom are on dialysis, according to the CDC.
People of color, however, face an even higher risk of kidney failure, representing more than half of dialysis patients. The rate of kidney failure is four times higher among Black people and two times higher among Hispanics than white people, according to CDC data. Black people represent 33% of all patients in the U.S. on dialysis.
Black and Hispanic people on dialysis were also more likely to contract staph infections than white patients, the CDC said. The data analyzing dialysis patients from 2017 to 2020 didn’t clearly calculate the increased risk for Black patients. Hispanic patients, however, faced a 40% higher risk of staph infection than whites, according to the CDC.
“Preventing staph bloodstream infections begins by detecting chronic kidney disease in its early stages to prevent or delay the need for dialysis,” said CDC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Debra Houry.
The CDC study looked at data from select counties in seven states from 2017 through 2020. The states are California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Tennessee and Minnesota.
Bloodstream infections in patients on dialysis declined 40% from 2014 to 2019 due to staff and patient education on how to prevent them, according to the CDC. The use of fistulas and grafts to connect a patient’s blood circulation to the dialysis machine reduces the risk of infection compared with catheters.
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