Virginia Tallies 35 MRSA Deaths, 1,380 Infections Over Past Year

There were 1,380 invasive cases of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, known as the deadly MRSA infection, in the first year Virginia began tracking the staph infection.

At least 35 people died over the same period.

Governor Tim Kaine ordered medical labs across the state to report the more serious cases of MRSA to the state Health Department last year after a 17-year-old Bedford County boy died.

Only about 30 percent of the cases reported from December 1 of last year through the end of this November listed a known outcome, so the number of deaths could be higher.

Christopher Novak, an epidemiologist with the Virginia Department of Health, says the data will be more helpful in tracking trends as more time passes.

Novak said Virginia's numbers are similar to what's going on nationally.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there were more than 94,000 invasive MRSA infections in the United States in 2005. More than 18,000 of those resulted in death.