Hospital discharge reports have provided data for studies of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) skin and soft-tissue infection (SSTI) studies. This analysis determined the sensitivity and positive predictive value of International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM) code combinations to calculate hospitalization incidence rates, representativeness of a set of three ICD-9-CM codes to define MRSA SSTI, and hospitalization incidence rate trends for paediatric MRSA SSTIs in Los Angeles County (LAC). Using 133 cases from 31 hospitals, we found that the set of three ICD-9-CM codes used to define laboratory-confirmed cases had one of the highest positive predictive values (49%). There was no difference in age and race between those categorized using three codes vs. other code combinations. A dramatic increase in paediatric MRSA SSTI cases occurred in LAC during 1998–2006. We conclude that this combination of codes may be used to determine the rise of MRSA SSTIs in paediatric populations.
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