According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black and Hispanic dialysis patients in the United States have a higher risk of developing staph bloodstream infections than their white counterparts. Federal health officials added that reducing disparities can save lives.
The US CDC revealed the risks and disparities associated with dialysis for end-stage kidney disease, in which a machine removes waste and excess fluid from the blood.
The CDC stated in a press release that more than half of people in the United States receiving dialysis belong to a racial or ethnic minority group, and about one in every three people receiving dialysis is Black and one in every five is Hispanic. According to data from the US CDC, patients in these groups on dialysis have higher rates of staph bloodstream infections than white dialysis patients.
Staphylococcus and other bacteria can enter the bloodstream of patients who are connected to machines with needles or catheters. In 2020, dialysis facilities reported over 14,000 bloodstream infections to a national tracking system, with staph accounting for 34% of those infections. That year, approximately 560,000 Americans with end-stage kidney disease underwent dialysis.
Some staph infections can be fatal because they are resistant to the antibiotics that are commonly used to treat them.
The CDC found that adults with end-stage kidney disease who were on dialysis were 100 times more likely than adults who were not on dialysis to have a staph bloodstream infection between 2017 and 2020. During that time, Hispanic patients had a 40% higher risk of contracting those infections than white patients did.
The study found that Hispanic patients and those aged 18 to 49, as well as those living in areas with higher rates of poverty, household crowding, and lower levels of education, are at the greatest risk after considering age, sex, and other factors.