Study indicates dramatic rise in antibiotic-resistant community-acquired staph infections

restricted to certain risk groups but appear to be wide spread in the Atlanta community."

The study demonstrated that 72 percent of community-onset Staph skin and soft tissue infections among patients receiving care at the Grady Health System (Grady Memorial Hospital and its affiliated outpatient clinics in Atlanta) are now due to MRSA. The vast majority of these MRSA skin and soft tissue infections are due to a single clone or strain of MRSA called USA300. As noted in the accompanying editorial, MRSA appears to have emerged as a cause of community-acquired skin infections in other U.S. communities as well.

As noted by Dr. Blumberg and other Emory and Grady authors, "Empirical use of antibiotics active against community-acquired MRSA is warranted, especially for patients presenting with serious skin and soft-tissue infections." This represents a major change in prescribing practices for community-onset skin and soft tissue infections.

Dr. Blumberg's team included first author Mark King, MD, MSc, previously an infectious diseases fellow and faculty member at Emory as well as Dr. Susan Ray, an associate professor of medicine in the Emory Division of Infectious Diseases and Dr. Wayne Wang, a member of the Emory Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Grady Clinical Microbiology Laboratory.

The Emory scientists began their research in response to observations about increasing number of community-acquired skin and soft tissue infections that were due to MRSA. Dr. Blumberg notes, "In recent years there have been reports of outbreaks of community-acquired infections due to MRSA. Our study now shows that these community-acquired infections are no longer just restricted to certain risk groups but are widespread and now endemic."

The recognition of community-acquired MRSA as a primary cause of skin and soft tissue infections offers implications for prevention and treatment. In the past, Dr. Blumb

Contact: Holly Korschun
Emory University Health Sciences Center

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