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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Western Australia, 1983–1992

Riley, T.V. and Rouse, I.L. (1995) Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Western Australia, 1983–1992. Journal of Hospital Infection, 29 (3). pp. 177-188.

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A statewide screening programme has prevented imported strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from becoming established in any hospital in Western Australia (WA). Recently, notifications of MRSA in WA have increased, prompting a review of surveillance data for the period 1983-1992. Our aims were to determine: (i) the distribution by age and sex of persons with MRSA; (ii) changes in notification rates over time and by location in WA; and (iii) temporal changes in antimicrobial resistance patterns. There were 631 notifications of MRSA for the 10 year period 1983-1992, ranging from a low of 36 in 1988 to a high of 117 in 1992. When the distribution by age and sex was examined, three age group peaks were apparent: 0-9 years, 20-39 years and 60-79 years. There was a predominance of females in the 20-39 years age group, reflecting a greater proportion of hospital nursing staff carrying MRSA. In those aged 50 years or more, there was a marked predominance of males. The highest notification rates overall occurred in the remote Kimberley region of WA, however, rates increased significantly in all regions of the state in 1992. Based on antimicrobial resistance patterns, MRSA was classified into two groups: multiresistant imported strains which often caused outbreaks in hospitals; and a less resistant MRSA (WA MRSA). WA MRSA appears to have originated in the Kimberley region and then spread widely in the community to other regions of the state, and the proportion of WA MRSA has increased significantly since 1989.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: W.B. Saunders Ltd
Copyright: © 1995
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