According to the CDC, Hispanic dialysis patients have a 40% higher risk of staph infection than whites.

A COVID-19 patient using a ventilator rests while his blood passes through a kidney dialysis machine (L) on the intensive care unit (ICU) floor of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center on April 21, 2020 in the Brooklyn borough of New York.

Robert Nickelsberg | Getty Images

Hispanic dialysis patients have a 40% higher risk of developing a staph infection in their blood stream than whites, according to new data released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, highlighting economic and racial disparities in the US healthcare system.

According to the CDC, adults on dialysis for kidney failure are 100 times more likely to develop bloodstream staph infections compared to the general US population. Needles and catheters are used to connect patients to dialysis, and bacteria such as staph can enter the patient’s bloodstream during the process. Staphylococcal infections are serious and sometimes fatal.

According to the CDC, more than 800,000 people in the US are living with kidney failure, 70% of them on dialysis.

However, people of color face an even higher risk of kidney failure, accounting for more than half of dialysis patients. The incidence of kidney failure is four times higher among blacks and twice as high among Hispanics than whites, according to the CDC. Blacks make up 33% of all dialysis patients in the US.

Blacks and Hispanics on dialysis are also more likely to contract staph infections than white patients, according to the CDC. Data analyzing patients on dialysis from 2017 to 2020 does not clearly calculate the increased risk for black patients. Hispanic patients have a 40% higher risk of contracting staph than whites, according to the CDC.

“Prevention of bloodstream staph infections starts with identifying chronic kidney disease in its early stages to prevent or delay the need for dialysis,” said CDC Chief Medical Officer Dr. Debra Khoury.

The CDC study looked at data from selected counties in seven states from 2017 to 2020. These are California, Connecticut, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Tennessee and Minnesota.

According to the CDC, bloodstream infections in dialysis patients decreased by 40% from 2014 to 2019 thanks to staff and patient education on how to prevent them. The use of fistulas and grafts to connect a patient’s circulatory system to a dialysis machine reduces the risk of infection compared to catheters.

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