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N C Med J. 2008 Sep-Oct;69(5):351-4.

The prevalence of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) in skin abscesses presenting to the pediatric emergency department.

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  • 1Wake Forest University-School of Medicine, USA.



Community-acquired methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infections have been increasing. The most common of these infections present as skin abscesses. The objectives of this study were to prospectively determine the prevalence of CA-MRSA in abscesses in the population of a pediatric emergency department, to determine antibiotic sensitivity patterns of the CA-MRSA isolates, and to describe the patient population that presented with skin abscesses.


We conducted a prospective study of children under the age of 18 years who presented to our pediatric emergency department with a skin abscess that required incision and drainage. Pus from these abscesses was sent for culture to determine the causative agent, and antibiotic sensitivities were reported. Characteristics of the patient population that presented with these abscesses were examined.


Sixty-eight patients were enrolled over an 18-month period. Of these, 60 (88%) had cultures positive for Staphylococcus aureus (S. Aureus). Of these 60 patients, 51 (85%) were identified as CA-MRSA by their resistance patterns. All of the CA-MRSA isolates were sensitive to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxisole; 6 (10%) were either resistant or intermittently resistant to clindamycin.


The study was conducted on a convenience sample of patients and enrolled a relatively small number of patients.


CA-MRSA is responsible for the vast majority of skin abscesses presenting to the pediatric emergency department. CA-MRSA isolates are likely to be sensitive to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxisole or clindamycin, although there is some resistance to clindamycin.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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