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Am J Emerg Med. 2014 Feb;32(2):135-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2013.10.026. Epub 2013 Oct 16.

Antibiotics for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin and soft tissue infections: the challenge of outpatient therapy.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Metropolitan Hospital Center, New York, NY, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Emergency Medicine, Metropolitan Hospital Center, New York, NY, USA.
Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Med Program, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.
Department of Emergency Medicine, New York Medical College/Metropolitan Hospital Center, New York, NY, USA.



Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are becoming increasingly prevalent in both community and hospital settings. Certain strains are notorious for causing skin and soft tissue infections in patients with no established risk factors. In this article, we report our findings on the dynamic antibiotic resistance pattern of MRSA and outpatient prescription trend for skin and soft tissue infections within our community.


We conducted a retrospective medical record review of 1876 patients evaluated in the emergency department of an urban community hospital from 2003 to 2012. Data regarding culture isolates and associated antimicrobial resistance, antibiotic treatment, site of specimen collection, age, race, and sex were collected and analyzed.


Analysis of 1879 culture specimens yielded 2193 isolates. In some cases, a single specimen yielded polymicrobial growth. Staphylococcus aureus represented 996 isolates (45.4%); 463 were methicillin-susceptible (21.1%) and 533 (24.3%) were methicillin-resistant. Most patients were prescribed a single- or poly-drug regimen of trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, cephalexin, and clindamycin. Antimicrobial resistance analysis indicated that MRSA became increasingly resistant to the aforementioned antibiotics over time: 10% and 6% in 2012 vs 3.5% and 3.4% in 2007 for clindamycin and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, respectively.


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a particularly virulent, rapidly adaptive pathogen that is becoming increasingly difficult to combat with existing antibiotics. Care must be taken to ensure appropriate treatment and follow-up of patients with known MRSA infections.

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