Modeling the Invasion of Community-Acquired Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus into Hospitals

D'Agata, Erica M. C.; Webb, Glenn F.; Horn, Mary Ann; Moellering Jr., Robert C.; Shigui Ruan
February 2009
Clinical Infectious Diseases;2/1/2009, Vol. 48 Issue 3, p274
Academic Journal
Background. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has traditionally been associated with infections in hospitals. Recently, a new strain of MRSA has emerged and rapidly spread in the community, causing serious infections among young, healthy individuals. Preliminary reports imply that a particular clone (USA300) of a community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) strain is infiltrating hospitals and replacing the traditional hospital-acquired MRSA strains. If true, this event would have serious consequences, because CA-MRSA infections in hospitals would occur among a more debilitated, older patient population. Methods. A deterministic mathematical model was developed to characterize the factors contributing to the replacement of hospital-acquired MRSA with CA-MRSA and to quantify the effectiveness of interventions aimed at limiting the spread of CA-MRSA in health care settings. Results. The model strongly suggests that CA-MRSA will become the dominant MRSA strain in hospitals and health care facilities. This reversal of dominant strain will occur as a result of the documented expanding community reservoir and increasing influx into the hospital of individuals who harbor CA-MRSA. Competitive exclusion of hospital-acquired MRSA by CA-MRSA will occur, with increased severity of CA-MRSA infections resulting in longer hospitalizations and a larger in-hospital reservoir of CA-MRSA. Conclusions. Improving compliance with hand hygiene and screening for and decolonization of CA-MRSA carriers are effective strategies. However, hand hygiene has the greatest return of benefits and, if compliance is optimized, other strategies may have minimal added benefit.


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