0
Editorials |

More Challenges in the Prevention and Management of Community-Associated, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Skin Disease FREE

Rachel Gorwitz, MD, MPH; Scott K. Fridkin, MD, MPH; and Kimberly A. Workowski, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30333.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.

Requests for Single Reprints: Rachel Gorwitz, MD, MPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MS A35, 1600 Clifton Road Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30333; e-mail, RGorwitz@cdc.gov.

Current Author Addresses: Drs. Gorwitz and Fridkin: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MS A-35, 1600 Clifton Road Northeast, Atlanta, GA 30333.

Dr. Workowski: Emory University, 550 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, GA 30308.


Ann Intern Med. 2008;148(4):310-312. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-148-4-200802190-00205
Text Size: A A A

Staphylococcus aureus is and has long been a common cause of community-associated skin infections, transmitted mainly by close (skin-to-skin) contact. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), previously seen almost exclusively in association with health care, emerged in the 1990s as a cause of community-associated skin infection (1). In the United States, a single pulsed-field gel electrophoresis type, USA300, has caused most community-associated MRSA infections (2). Outbreaks of S. aureus skin infection have occurred in settings conducive to transmission because of crowding, frequent skin-to-skin contact, compromised skin surfaces, sharing of potentially contaminated personal items, and barriers to maintaining hygiene and cleanliness (35).

Community-associated MRSA is typically susceptible to multiple classes of antimicrobial agents (1). When antimicrobial therapy is desired as an adjunct to incision and drainage for uncomplicated skin infections, several oral treatment options are generally available. Although data from controlled clinical trials are lacking, treatment options have included clindamycin, trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole, and tetracyclines (6). Although susceptibility to agents other than β-lactams and macrolides is still the most common profile, resistance to other agents has been documented in USA300 and other community-associated MRSA types (710). In an extreme example, resistance to at least 4 classes of non–β-lactam antimicrobials has been described in community-associated MRSA isolates from children in Taiwan and adults in the United States (78, 10).

In this issue, Diep and colleagues (11) present the results of analyses exploring the epidemiology of MRSA USA300 isolates that contain the conjugative plasmid pUSA03. This plasmid contains genes conferring resistance to erythromycin, clindamycin, and mupirocin, and it has the potential to acquire additional resistance elements (7). The authors refer to pUSA03-positive MRSA strains as “multidrug-resistant USA300.” Diep and colleagues build 2 bodies of epidemiologic evidence to suggest that men who have sex with men may be at increased risk for skin infection with a pUSA03-positive strain of MRSA USA300. First, in an ecological analysis performed in San Francisco, Diep and colleagues found a higher incidence of pUSA03-positive MRSA USA300 in residents of areas with a relatively high proportion of male same-sex couples. Second, cross-sectional retrospective analyses of patients with MRSA USA300 skin infections attending an HIV clinic in San Francisco and a community health clinic in Boston suggest that identifying oneself as a man who has sex with men is associated with an increased risk for having a pUSA03-positive isolate.

Diep and colleagues suggest that MRSA, in particular pUSA03-positive USA300, might be sexually transmitted among men who have sex with men. The authors base this hypothesis on the high proportion of infections involving the buttocks, genitals, and perineum (25% and 37% at the San Francisco and Boston clinics, respectively) and recent reports of MRSA skin infections in heterosexual and homosexual partners (1213). Because S. aureus is known to be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, the frequency and duration of intimate skin-to-skin contact occurring with sexual activity may increase the risk for cutaneous transmission of S. aureus. However, the buttocks and groin are common sites for S.aureus infection in adults and children (1415), and infection in these areas does not imply acquisition via sexual contact. As the authors acknowledge, they did not assess specific sexual practices and therefore could not determine the relative importance of particular sexual practices in genital or perianal MRSA colonization and infection. Furthermore, they do not assess 2 important parameters in defining an infection as sexually transmitted (16): whether sexual activity is the predominant mode of transmission in these populations and whether mucosal (genital, anal, oral) contact is specifically implicated.

Diep and colleagues confirm that pUSA03-positive strains of MRSA USA300 have emerged in certain communities of men who have sex with men in San Francisco and Boston. We reviewed isolates submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the Active Bacterial Core Surveillance system for invasive MRSA infections and found that strains bearing this plasmid are rare (CDC. Unpublished data.). The hosts of these strains are not limited to men who have sex with men: Two of 8 pUSA03-positive MRSA USA300 isolates were from women. Information on sexual orientation is not collected in this surveillance system.

Incision and drainage is the primary therapy for uncomplicated MRSA skin infections. Available evidence suggests that most uncomplicated MRSA skin infections respond well to drainage alone (17). It has not been established through controlled studies whether certain patients benefit from ancillary antimicrobial therapy (18); however, experts have recommended that clinicians consider administering antimicrobial therapy in addition to drainage on the basis of such factors as patient age, immunosuppression, severity of local symptoms, and presence of fever (19). Several oral treatment options are available for patients in whom the clinician feels that antibiotics are required, even if the infecting isolate is pUSA03-positive. For example, isolates with tetracycline resistance (typically conferred by the tetK gene, located on a separate plasmid), generally retain in vitro susceptibility to minocycline and doxycycline (8). Resistance to trimethoprim–sulfamethoxazole is rare in MRSA USA300. Despite these available treatment options, we should be alert for isolates that are resistant to antimicrobials, because genetic elements encoding resistance to antimicrobial agents, such as trimethoprim, aminoglycosides, and vancomycin, are easily integrated into the pUSA03 genome (7). For this reason, we should monitor antimicrobial susceptibilities in S. aureus isolates in populations where pUSA03-positive strains are prevalent, even after empirical therapy has been modified to provide MRSA coverage.

Optimizing strategies for prevention and control of community-associated MRSA is a continuing task in which the lessons also apply to skin infections acquired by men who have sex with men. Improved hygiene and meticulous wound care seem to have been effective at controlling transmission in outbreak settings (45). These same strategies should help at-risk individuals avoid cutaneous transmission of pUSA03-positive MRSA to close contacts, including sexual partners. In particular, people should avoid contact with infected skin and potentially contaminated objects. No medical authority has recommended postexposure prophylaxis for asymptomatic contacts of MRSA-infected persons. Similarly, participants in a CDC-convened, experts' meeting did not recommend routine use of screening for MRSA colonization or agents to suppress or eliminate colonization for infected persons or their contacts (19); the potential role of these interventions in specific at-risk populations is being evaluated (20). Because antibiotic exposure may facilitate the acquisition of drug-resistant strains of S. aureus, clinicians should use antimicrobial agents prudently. Although these general MRSA prevention principles apply to any MRSA infection, some strategies for community-associated MRSA prevention and control may be unique to specific populations—such as prisoners, athletes, day care attendees, and men who have sex with men—indicating a need to customize interventions and rigorously establish their efficacy in these populations.

We currently lack evidence that S. aureus, including MRSA, is a sexually transmitted infection as judged by the 2 classic criteria (sex as a predominant mode of transmission and transmission through genital, anal, or oral mucosal contact). We know that S. aureus is transmitted primarily by direct skin-to-skin contact, which includes skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity. Furthermore, although the propensity of S. aureus to cause infection in the buttocks and groin areas does not imply sexual transmission, contact of these infected areas of skin during sexual activity could result in cutaneous transmission. We do not know whether the mucosal contact that can occur with specific sexual practices imparts an independent risk for transmission.

From a clinician's standpoint, the principles of evaluating and treating MRSA skin infections have not changed. Specifically, when empirical antimicrobial therapy is indicated for a possible S. aureus skin infection, treatment should be selected on the basis of local epidemiology and susceptibility patterns. In communities where resistance to certain non–β-lactam agents is prevalent in MRSA isolates from specific patient groups, such as men who have sex with men, that information should guide empirical therapy. Finally, clinicians must take the time to teach all patients with skin infections, regardless of the site of infection, about wound care and wound containment, which are the foundation of efforts to limit further transmission.

Rachel Gorwitz, MD, MPH

Scott K. Fridkin, MD, MPH

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Atlanta, GA 30333

Kimberly A. Workowski, MD

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Emory University

Atlanta, GA 30333

References

Fridkin SK, Hageman JC, Morrison M, Sanza LT, Como-Sabetti K, Jernigan JA, et al. Active Bacterial Core Surveillance Program of the Emerging Infections Program Network.  Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus disease in three communities. N Engl J Med. 2005; 352:1436-44. PubMed
CrossRef
 
Moran GJ, Krishnadasan A, Gorwitz RJ, Fosheim GE, McDougal LK, Carey RB, et al. EMERGEncy ID Net Study Group.  Methicillin-resistant S. aureus infections among patients in the emergency department. N Engl J Med. 2006; 355:666-74. PubMed
 
Bartlett PC, Martin RJ, Cahill BR.  Furunculosis in a high school football team. Am J Sports Med. 1982; 10:371-4. PubMed
 
Wootton SH, Arnold K, Hill HA, McAllister S, Ray M, Kellum M. et al.  Intervention to reduce the incidence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin infections in a correctional facility in Georgia. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2004; 25:402-7. PubMed
 
Zinderman CE, Conner B, Malakooti MA, LaMar JE, Armstrong A, Bohnker BK.  Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus among military recruits. Emerg Infect Dis. 2004; 10:941-4. PubMed
 
Daum RS.  Clinical practice. Skin and soft-tissue infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. N Engl J Med. 2007; 357:380-90. PubMed
 
Diep BA, Gill SR, Chang RF, Phan TH, Chen JH, Davidson MG. et al.  Complete genome sequence of USA300, an epidemic clone of community-acquired meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Lancet. 2006; 367:731-9. PubMed
 
Han LL, McDougal LK, Gorwitz RJ, Mayer KH, Patel JB, Sennott JM. et al.  High frequencies of clindamycin and tetracycline resistance in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus pulsed-field type USA300 isolates collected at a Boston ambulatory health center. J Clin Microbiol. 2007; 45:1350-2. PubMed
 
Hultén KG, Kaplan SL, Gonzalez BE, Hammerman WA, Lamberth LB, Versalovic J. et al.  Three-year surveillance of community onset health care-associated staphylococcus aureus infections in children. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006; 25:349-53. PubMed
 
Boyle-Vavra S, Ereshefsky B, Wang CC, Daum RS.  Successful multiresistant community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus lineage from Taipei, Taiwan, that carries either the novel Staphylococcal chromosome cassette mec (SCCmec) type VT or SCCmec type IV. J Clin Microbiol. 2005; 43:4719-30. PubMed
 
Diep BA, Chambers HF, Graber CJ, Szumowski JD, Miller LG, Han LL. et al.  Emergence of multidrug-resistant, community-associated, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus clone USA300 in men who have sex with men. Ann Intern Med. 2008; 148:249-57.
 
Cook HA, Furuya EY, Larson E, Vasquez G, Lowy FD.  Heterosexual transmission of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Clin Infect Dis. 2007; 44:410-3. PubMed
 
Lee NE, Taylor MM, Bancroft E, Ruane PJ, Morgan M, McCoy L. et al.  Risk factors for community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin infections among HIV-positive men who have sex with men. Clin Infect Dis. 2005; 40:1529-34. PubMed
 
Hasty MB, Klasner A, Kness S, Denmark TK, Ellis D, Herman MI. et al.  Cutaneous community-associated methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus among all skin and soft-tissue infections in two geographically distant pediatric emergency departments. Acad Emerg Med. 2007; 14:35-40. PubMed
 
Szczesiul JM, Shermock KM, Murtaza UI, Siberry GK.  No decrease in clindamycin susceptibility despite increased use of clindamycin for pediatric community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin infections. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2007; 26:852-4. PubMed
 
. Eng TR, Butler WT The Hidden Epidemic: Confronting Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Washington, DC: National Academy Pr; 1997; 1-432.
 
Rajendran PM, Young D, Maurer T, Chambers H, Perdreau-Remington F, Ro P. et al.  Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of cephalexin for treatment of uncomplicated skin abscesses in a population at risk for community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007; 51:4044-8. PubMed
 
Gorwitz RJ.  The role of ancillary antimicrobial therapy for treatment of uncomplicated skin infections in the era of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [Editorial]. Clin Infect Dis. 2007; 44:785-7. PubMed
 
Gorwitz RJ, Jernigan DB, Powers JH, Jernigan JA; Participants in the CDC-Convened Experts' Meeting on Management of MRSA in the Community.  Strategies for clinical management of MRSA in the community: summary of an experts' meeting convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2006. Accessed athttp://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mrsa_ca.htmlon 16 January 2008.
 
Ellis MW, Griffith ME, Dooley DP, McLean JC, Jorgensen JH, Patterson JE. et al.  Targeted intranasal mupirocin to prevent colonization and infection by community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains in soldiers: a cluster randomized controlled trial. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007; 51:3591-8. PubMed
 

Figures

Tables

References

Fridkin SK, Hageman JC, Morrison M, Sanza LT, Como-Sabetti K, Jernigan JA, et al. Active Bacterial Core Surveillance Program of the Emerging Infections Program Network.  Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus disease in three communities. N Engl J Med. 2005; 352:1436-44. PubMed
CrossRef
 
Moran GJ, Krishnadasan A, Gorwitz RJ, Fosheim GE, McDougal LK, Carey RB, et al. EMERGEncy ID Net Study Group.  Methicillin-resistant S. aureus infections among patients in the emergency department. N Engl J Med. 2006; 355:666-74. PubMed
 
Bartlett PC, Martin RJ, Cahill BR.  Furunculosis in a high school football team. Am J Sports Med. 1982; 10:371-4. PubMed
 
Wootton SH, Arnold K, Hill HA, McAllister S, Ray M, Kellum M. et al.  Intervention to reduce the incidence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin infections in a correctional facility in Georgia. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2004; 25:402-7. PubMed
 
Zinderman CE, Conner B, Malakooti MA, LaMar JE, Armstrong A, Bohnker BK.  Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus among military recruits. Emerg Infect Dis. 2004; 10:941-4. PubMed
 
Daum RS.  Clinical practice. Skin and soft-tissue infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. N Engl J Med. 2007; 357:380-90. PubMed
 
Diep BA, Gill SR, Chang RF, Phan TH, Chen JH, Davidson MG. et al.  Complete genome sequence of USA300, an epidemic clone of community-acquired meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Lancet. 2006; 367:731-9. PubMed
 
Han LL, McDougal LK, Gorwitz RJ, Mayer KH, Patel JB, Sennott JM. et al.  High frequencies of clindamycin and tetracycline resistance in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus pulsed-field type USA300 isolates collected at a Boston ambulatory health center. J Clin Microbiol. 2007; 45:1350-2. PubMed
 
Hultén KG, Kaplan SL, Gonzalez BE, Hammerman WA, Lamberth LB, Versalovic J. et al.  Three-year surveillance of community onset health care-associated staphylococcus aureus infections in children. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2006; 25:349-53. PubMed
 
Boyle-Vavra S, Ereshefsky B, Wang CC, Daum RS.  Successful multiresistant community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus lineage from Taipei, Taiwan, that carries either the novel Staphylococcal chromosome cassette mec (SCCmec) type VT or SCCmec type IV. J Clin Microbiol. 2005; 43:4719-30. PubMed
 
Diep BA, Chambers HF, Graber CJ, Szumowski JD, Miller LG, Han LL. et al.  Emergence of multidrug-resistant, community-associated, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus clone USA300 in men who have sex with men. Ann Intern Med. 2008; 148:249-57.
 
Cook HA, Furuya EY, Larson E, Vasquez G, Lowy FD.  Heterosexual transmission of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Clin Infect Dis. 2007; 44:410-3. PubMed
 
Lee NE, Taylor MM, Bancroft E, Ruane PJ, Morgan M, McCoy L. et al.  Risk factors for community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin infections among HIV-positive men who have sex with men. Clin Infect Dis. 2005; 40:1529-34. PubMed
 
Hasty MB, Klasner A, Kness S, Denmark TK, Ellis D, Herman MI. et al.  Cutaneous community-associated methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus among all skin and soft-tissue infections in two geographically distant pediatric emergency departments. Acad Emerg Med. 2007; 14:35-40. PubMed
 
Szczesiul JM, Shermock KM, Murtaza UI, Siberry GK.  No decrease in clindamycin susceptibility despite increased use of clindamycin for pediatric community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin infections. Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2007; 26:852-4. PubMed
 
. Eng TR, Butler WT The Hidden Epidemic: Confronting Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Washington, DC: National Academy Pr; 1997; 1-432.
 
Rajendran PM, Young D, Maurer T, Chambers H, Perdreau-Remington F, Ro P. et al.  Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of cephalexin for treatment of uncomplicated skin abscesses in a population at risk for community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007; 51:4044-8. PubMed
 
Gorwitz RJ.  The role of ancillary antimicrobial therapy for treatment of uncomplicated skin infections in the era of community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [Editorial]. Clin Infect Dis. 2007; 44:785-7. PubMed
 
Gorwitz RJ, Jernigan DB, Powers JH, Jernigan JA; Participants in the CDC-Convened Experts' Meeting on Management of MRSA in the Community.  Strategies for clinical management of MRSA in the community: summary of an experts' meeting convened by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2006. Accessed athttp://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_mrsa_ca.htmlon 16 January 2008.
 
Ellis MW, Griffith ME, Dooley DP, McLean JC, Jorgensen JH, Patterson JE. et al.  Targeted intranasal mupirocin to prevent colonization and infection by community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains in soldiers: a cluster randomized controlled trial. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007; 51:3591-8. PubMed
 

Letters

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).

Comments

Submit a Comment
Submit a Comment

Summary for Patients

Clinical Slide Sets

Terms of Use

The In the Clinic® slide sets are owned and copyrighted by the American College of Physicians (ACP). All text, graphics, trademarks, and other intellectual property incorporated into the slide sets remain the sole and exclusive property of the ACP. The slide sets may be used only by the person who downloads or purchases them and only for the purpose of presenting them during not-for-profit educational activities. Users may incorporate the entire slide set or selected individual slides into their own teaching presentations but may not alter the content of the slides in any way or remove the ACP copyright notice. Users may make print copies for use as hand-outs for the audience the user is personally addressing but may not otherwise reproduce or distribute the slides by any means or media, including but not limited to sending them as e-mail attachments, posting them on Internet or Intranet sites, publishing them in meeting proceedings, or making them available for sale or distribution in any unauthorized form, without the express written permission of the ACP. Unauthorized use of the In the Clinic slide sets will constitute copyright infringement.

Toolkit

Want to Subscribe?

Learn more about subscription options

Advertisement
Related Articles
Related Point of Care
Topic Collections
PubMed Articles
Forgot your password?
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a reminder to the email address on record.
(Required)
(Required)