Increased Prevalence of Community-Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Hand Infections at an Urban Medical Center

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Background:The purpose of this article is to report the increased incidence of community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus in hand infections at an urban medical center.Methods:The authors performed a retrospective review of all patients with hand infections over a 21-month period, and all patients with culture-positive methicillin-resistant S. aureus were identified. Cases determined to be nosocomial were excluded. The study period was divided into three 7-month periods.Results:A total of 343 hand infections were treated over a 21-month period. Eighty-nine patients (26 percent) with culture positive methicillin-resistant S. aureus were identified; of these, 75 were determined to be community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus patients. Statistical analysis was performed using the Fisher’s exact test (p < 0.0001), the chi-square test for equal proportions, the Cochran-Armitage trend test, and two-way analysis of variance. The demographics of the patients were compared using two-way analysis of variance, and patients were found to be similar in all three time periods with respect to mean age and sex. The incidence of community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus increased to 40 percent during the last 7-month period compared with 14 percent during the first two periods. Overall, the incidence of methicillin-resistant S. aureus increased to 47 percent during the last 7 months compared with 16 percent and 17 percent in the first two 7-month periods, respectively. Based on their treatment approach and literature review, the authors have developed an algorithm to treat community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus hand infections.Conclusions:The authors’ findings at Temple University Hospital may help to alert health care providers to take necessary steps to control the spread of methicillin-resistant S. aureus in the community and in the inpatient setting. Cultures should be carefully followed and infections should be treated with appropriate antibiotics.

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