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Continued Emergence of USA300 Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the United States: Results from a Nationwide Surveillance Study

  • Daniel J. Diekema (a1) (a2), Sandra S. Richter (a3), Kristopher P. Heilmann (a1), Cassie L. Dohrn (a1), Fathollah Riahi (a1), Shailesh Tendolkar (a1), Jennifer S. McDanel (a1) and Gary V. Doern (a1)...



The epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is changing, with USA300 emerging first in community and then in healthcare settings. We performed nationwide surveillance to assess recent trends in the molecular epidemiology of MRSA.


One hundred consecutive unique clinically significant S. aureus isolates were recovered from patients at each of 43 US centers between July 1, 2011, and December 31, 2011. Susceptibility testing, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), staphylococcal protein A gene (spa) and staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec typing, and Panton-Valentine leukocidin detection were performed on all MRSA isolates.


Of 4,131 isolates collected, 2,093 (51%) were MRSA. Specimen sources of MRSA isolates included wound or abscess (54%), blood (24%), lower respiratory tract (11%), and other sterile site (10%). Thirty percent were isolated more than 48 hours after hospital admission (ie, were associated with nosocomial acquisition of infection). USA300 was the most common PFGE type (1,269 isolates; 61%), overall and in all regions, followed by USA100 (368 isolates; 18%). Among 173 spa types found, the most common were t008 (51%) and t002 (18%); no other spa type accounted for more than 2% of isolates. One strain type (USA300/t008/IV) constituted almost half of all MRSA isolates (1,005 isolates; 48%) and was the most common at all body sites, causing 37% of MRSA bloodstream infections (BSIs) and 38% of nosocomial MRSA infections. Multidrug-resistant phenotypes were found among 34 USA300 isolates (3%) from 18 states.


The USA300 PFGE type continues to advance nationwide. A single strain type (USA300/t008/IV) predominates in all regions and infection sites and is now more common than USA 100 as a cause of MRSA BSI and nosocomial infections. Although most USA300 retain typical susceptibility profiles, multidrug-resistant phenotypes are emerging.


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