The incidence of antibiotic-resistant staph infections associated with being acquired in the community and not in health care institutions increased almost seven-fold in Chicago's Cook County Hospital system between 2000 and 2005, according to a report in the May 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections-which do not respond to standard antibiotic treatments-are typically associated with hospitals and other health care environments. Beginning in 1998, a community-associated form of the bacteria (CA-MRSA) emerged globally, according to background information in the article. Risk factors for CA-MRSA include jail or prison time, exposure while playing certain sports, intravenous drug use, overcrowded housing, tattooing and poor hygiene. "An understanding of factors promoting acquisition and emergence of CA-MRSA may aid in the development of prevention strategies," the authors write.
Bala Hota, M.D., M.P.H., and colleagues at Rush University Medical Center and John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, examined tissue, fluid and bone cultures at the 464-bed public hospital and its associated clinics between 2000 and 2005. They restricted their study to patients with infections of community onset, not hospital onset, to understand infection rates in the community; patients studied were those who did not have recent hospitalizations, MRSA infection or other health care exposures. To determine characteristics associated with CA-MRSA, 518 community-onset cases that occurred between 2001 and 2004 were compared with 704 controls who had community-associated methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MSSA), which responds to methicillin-like antibiotics.
"The incidence of CA-MRSA skin and soft tissue infections increased from 24 cases per 100,000 people in 2000 to 164.2 cases per 100,000 people in 2005," the authors write. The num
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