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Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus: Introduction and Spread Within a Hospital

JAMES E. PEACOCK Jr., M.D.; FREDERIC J. MARSIK, Ph.D.; and RICHARD P. WENZEL, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

Grant support: by the Infectious Disease Training Program, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (# 5T32AI07046).

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Richard P. Wenzel, M.D.; Department of Medicine, University of Virginia Medical Center, Box 473; Charlottesville, VA 22908.


Charlottesville, Virginia


Ann Intern Med. 1980;93(4):526-532. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-93-4-526
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In March 1978, a strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus was introduced from the community into a university hospital. Within 6 months of admission of the index case, methicillin-resistant 5. aureus was isolated from 30 additional patients, 22 of whom were epidemiologically linked by a common phage type (6/47/54/75/83A) and roommate-to-roommate spread. Sixteen of 31 cases were infected, six with bacteremia. Patients with infections received cephalosporins more frequently before infection than did control subjects (p < 0.05). Patients acquiring methicillin-resistant S. aureus in the intensive care unit had a longer mean stay, had higher overall mortality, and received nafcillin and aminoglycosides more frequently than did cohorted control subjects. By mid-1979, methicillin-resistant S. aureus accounted for 38%, 31%, and 24% of all nosocomial S. aureus postoperative wound, pulmonary, and bloodstream infections, respectively. In hospitals with significant methicillin-resistant 5. aureus isolation rates, initial empiric therapy of presumed S. aureus infection with vancomycin seems warranted.

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