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Black and Hispanic Patient Have An Increased Chance of Getting Staph Infections

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Black and Hispanic patients are more likely to develop staph bloodstream infections while on dialysis compared to white patients, according to a newly released report by the Centers for Disease Control. 

Released on Feb. 6, the report, titled “Vital Signs: Health Disparities in Hemodialysis-Associated Staphylococcus aureus Bloodstream Infections — United States, 2017–2020,” focuses on the state of patients in the U.S. with end-stage kidney disease. The researchers highlighted the disparities of this growing health issue in America, particularly amongst BIPOC communities.

“More than half of people in the U.S. receiving dialysis belong to a racial or ethnic minority group — about 1 in every 3 people receiving dialysis is Black and 1 in every 5 is Hispanic,” the CDC said in a release. “CDC data found patients on dialysis in these groups have higher rates of staph bloodstream infections than White patients on dialysis.”

Used as a form of treatment for those with kidney failure, dialysis removes any waste products from the body by filtering the blood in one’s bloodstream. The process consists of a needle removing the blood for it to go into a dialyzer filter. In the filter, a solution cleans the blood by removing the toxins before another needle moves the blood back into the body.

As the blood moves back into the body through external methods, staphylococcus and other types of bacteria can enter the body. According to the report, in 2020, 14,000 bloodstream infections in dialysis patients were reported; about 34% of these infections were staph infections. 

Alongside Hispanic patients, Black patients were found to be affected the most out of any other ethnic and racial group. According to the CDC, 33% of all of the patients in the U.S. who are recipients of dialysis are Black- a significantly high percentage when it’s taken into account that Black Americans make up just 12% of the population. 

The CDC reported that, when factors aren’t adjusted, Black patients have an increased 23% chance of getting a staph infection when compared to white patients. However, when they added in other factors, they claimed the higher risk was no longer there. 

Still, the health agency continues to highlight the importance of the statistic to emphasize the importance of getting rid of barriers preventing people from getting healthcare.

Amongst the recommended methods to decrease disparities in healthcare include making more educational resources available in different languages, providing ways to cover insurance policies and making transportation methods available to those who struggle to get to appointments.

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