Efforts to prevent invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are proving successful, according to the results of a study conducted at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

In 2011, there were an estimated 30,800 fewer invasive MRSA infections in the United States than in 2005, according to the CDC. Investigators also found fewer infections among patients during hospitalization than among persons in the community without recent health care exposures.

As such, researchers believe effective strategies for preventing infections outside acute care settings will have the greatest impact on further reducing invasive MRSA infections nationally.

The new study cannot explain why infection rates are dropping, according to researchers, but they believe it’s likely attributable, in part, to hospital efforts to reduce the spread of infections.

“It’s also possible that there has been evolution of these strains and they’re less invasive,” said Franklin D. Lowy, MD, from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York who wrote an editorial accompanying the study.