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Alaska Med. 2004 Oct-Dec;46(4):88-91.

Over-representation of Samoan/Pacific Islanders among patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections at a large family practice clinic in Anchorage, Alaska, 1996-2000.

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Section of Epidemiology, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, P. O. Box 240249, Anchorage, AK 99524-0249, USA.


Two pediatricians in Anchorage observed that among patients of Samoan/Pacific Islander (S/PI) descent, bacterial wound cultures that grew Staphylococcus aureus often yielded methicillin-resistant isolates. The Alaska Section of Epidemiology performed chart reviews of patients that visited a large family practice clinic in Anchorage, Alaska, from 1996 through April 2000, and who were diagnosed with a skin infection. Eight of 204 patients were identified with culture-confirmed MRSA infections. Eighty percent (4 of 5) of S/PI patients had resistant isolates compared with 12% (4 of 34) of non S/PI patients (Yates corrected chi2 = 8.61, p-value = 0.003). Although subject to limitations, these data support similar findings documented by other studies that suggest MRSA infections disproportionately affect persons of S/PI origin. This study also suggests that it would be prudent to reduce the threshold of clinical suspicion for obtaining a skin culture among S/PI patients in Alaska, and avoid beta-lactam antibiotics until culture results are received.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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