Background: Previous work suggests an intermingling of community and hospital transmission networks driving the MRSA epidemic, but how those with CO-HA infections fit into the network remains unclear. We integrated epidemiologic data and whole-genome sequencing (WGS) from existing MRSA clinical isolates to determine whether there were distinguishable features of CO-HA MRSA infections that could guide interventions. Methods: We examined 955 existing clinical MRSA isolates from 2011 to 2013 from patients at Cook County Health, the major public healthcare network in Chicago, Illinois. We performed electronic and manual chart review to ascertain community (eg, illicit drug use, incarceration history) and healthcare exposures and comorbidities. WGS was performed on all sequences, and sequences were typed with multilocus sequence typing (MLST). We assessed the distribution of epidemiological factors and sequence type (ST) across onset type. Results: Infections were more frequent in males (70%); 61% of individuals with infection were African American and 21% were Hispanic. Overall, wound infections were the most common (81%) followed by blood (7%) and respiratory (6%). 82% of infections were ST8 (most USA300), 8% were ST5 (USA100) and 10% were other STs (Fig. 1a). Using standard epidemiologic definitions, we identified 523 CO, 295 CO-HA, and 137 HO infections. USA300 infections were common across CO, CO-HA, and HO categories, whereas USA100 was more frequently observed among CO-HA and HO. Current illicit drug use and history of incarceration—factors typically associated with CO-MRSA—were observed among both CO-HA and HO infections. 38% of CO-HA and 36% of HO had a history of MRSA infection or nasal colonization in the prior 6 months. As expected, 73% of CO-HA had a history of recent hospitalization, but this was also true for 44% of HO cases; points for intervention for both groups, especially CO-HA patients, include outpatient, inpatient, and ER care. Diabetes was common across categories, and HIV was more commonly observed among CO-HA cases (Fig. 1b). Conclusions: We characterized the genomic and epidemiologic features of CO-HA MRSA infections relative to CO and HO. By MLST and epidemiological analysis, CO-HA infections share similarities to both CO and HO. Although USA300 infections were the most common strain type, our findings highlight the need for WGS to discern relationships between individuals to understand the intermixing of healthcare and community networks for CO-HA infections. Higher resolution genomic analysis may help guide whether interventions need to be at hospital discharge or in the community to have the most impact on decreasing CO-HA MRSA infections.
Funding: Funding: from CDC Broad Agency Announcement: Genomic Epidemiology of Community-Onset Invasive USA300 MRSA Infections; Contract ID: 75D30118C02923