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CJEM. 2009 Sep;11(5):439-46.

Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: prevalence in skin and soft tissue infections at emergency departments in the Greater Toronto Area and associated risk factors.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA), which is caused primarily by the Canadian methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus-10 (CMRSA-10) strain (also known as the USA300 strain) has emerged rapidly in the United States and is now emerging in Canada. We assessed the prevalence, risk factors, microbiological characteristics and outcomes of CA-MRSA in patients with purulent skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) presenting to emergency departments (EDs) in the Greater Toronto Area.


Patients with Staphylococcus aureus SSTIs who presented to 7 EDs between Mar. 1 and Jun. 30, 2007, were eligible for inclusion in this study. Antimicrobial susceptibilities and molecular characteristics of MRSA strains were identified. Demographic, risk factor and clinical data were collected through telephone interviews.


MRSA was isolated from 58 (19%) of 299 eligible patients. CMRSA-10 was identified at 6 of the 7 study sites and accounted for 29 (50%) of all cases of MRSA. Telephone interviews were completed for 161 of the eligible patients. Individuals with CMRSA-10 were younger (median 34 v. 63 yr, p = 0.002), less likely to report recent antibiotic use (22% v. 67%, p = 0.046) or health care-related risk factors (33% v. 72%, p = 0.097) and more likely to report community-related risk factors (56% v. 6%, p = 0.008) than patients with other MRSA strains. CMRSA-10 SSTIs were treated with incision and drainage (1 patient), antibiotic therapy (3 patients) or both (5 patients), and all resolved. CMRSA-10 isolates were susceptible to clindamycin, tetracycline and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.


CA-MRSA is a significant cause of SSTIs in the Greater Toronto Area, and can affect patients without known community-related risk factors. The changing epidemiology of CA-MRSA necessitates further surveillance to inform prevention strategies and empiric treatment guidelines.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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