Prevalence of MRSA strains among Staphylococcus aureus isolated from outpatients, 2006
Coombs, G.W., Nimmo, G.R., Pearson, J.C., Christiansen, K., Bell, J.M., Collignon, P.J., McLaws, M-L. and Australian Group on Antimicrobial Resistance, (2009) Prevalence of MRSA strains among Staphylococcus aureus isolated from outpatients, 2006. Communicable diseases intelligence, 33 (1). pp. 10-20.
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Biennial community-based Staphylococcus aureus antimicrobial surveillance programs have been performed by the Australian Group for Antimicrobial Resistance (AGAR) since 2000. Over this time the percentage of S. aureus identified as methicillin resistant has increased significantly from 10.3% in 2000 to 16% in 2006. This increase has occurred throughout Australia and has been due to the emergence of community-associated MRSA (CA-MRSA) clones. However, healthcare associated MRSA were still predominant in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory and Victoria/Tasmania. In the 2006 survey CA-MRSA accounted for 8.8% of community-onset S. aureus infections. Although multiple CA-MRSA clones were characterised, the predominate clone identified was Queensland (Qld) MRSA (ST93-MRSA-IV) a Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) positive MRSA that was first reported in Queensland and northern New South Wales in 2003 but has now spread throughout Australia. Several international PVL-positive CA-MRSA clones were also identified including USA300 MRSA (ST8-MRSA-IV). In addition, PVL was detected in an EMRSA-15 (ST22-MRSA-IV) isolate; a hospital associated MRSA clone that is known to be highly transmissible in the healthcare setting. With the introduction of the international clones and the transmission of Qld MRSA throughout the country, over 50% of CA-MRSA in Australia are now PVL positive. This change in the epidemiology of CA-MRSA in the Australian community will potentially result in an increase in skin and soft tissue infections in young Australians. As infections caused by these strains frequently results in hospitalisation their emergence is a major health concern.
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