To describe the relative contribution of and risk factors for both community-acquired and nosocomial methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections.
Retrospective cohort study.
270-bed, tertiary-care children's hospital.
All MRSA-infected children from whom MRSA was recovered between October 1, 1999, and September 30, 2001.
Demographic, clinical, and risk factor data were abstracted from medical records. Categorical variables were analyzed using the chi-square or Fisher's exact test and continuous variables were analyzed using the Mann-Whitney test.
Of the 62 patients with new MRSA infection, 37 had community-acquired MRSA and 25 had nosocomial MRSA. Most community-acquired MRSA infections were of the skin and soft tissue, the middle ear, and the lower respiratory tract. Nosocomial MRSA infections occurred in the lower respiratory tract, the skin and soft tissue, and the blood. Risk factors for infection, including underlying medical illness, prior hospitalization, and prior surgery, were similar for patients with community-acquired MRSA and nosocomial MRSA. History of central venous catheterization and previous endotracheal intubation was more common in patients with nosocomial MRSA. Only 3 patients with community-acquired MRSA had no identifiable risk factor other than recent antibiotic use. Resistance for clindamycin, erythromycin, and levofloxacin was similar between strains of community-acquired MRSA and nosocomial MRSA.
Similarities in patient risk factors and resistance patterns of isolates of both community-acquired and nosocomial MRSA suggest healthcare acquisition of most MRSA. Thus, classifying MRSA as either community acquired or nosocomial underestimates the amount of healthcare-associated MRSA.