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Differences in Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Strains Isolated from Pediatric and Adult Patients from Hospitals in a Large County in California


Studies of U.S. epidemics of community- and health care-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) suggested differences in MRSA strains in adults and those in children. Comprehensive population-based studies exploring these differences are lacking. We conducted a prospective cohort study of inpatients in Orange County, CA, collecting clinical MRSA isolates from 30 of 31 Orange County hospitals, to characterize differences in MRSA strains isolated from children compared to those isolated from adults. All isolates were characterized by spa typing. We collected 1,124 MRSA isolates from adults and 159 from children. Annual Orange County population estimates of MRSA inpatient clinical cultures were 119/100,000 adults and 22/100,000 children. spa types t008, t242, and t002 accounted for 83% of all isolates. The distribution of these three spa types among adults was significantly different from that among children (χ(2) = 52.29; P < 0.001). Forty-one percent of adult isolates were of t008 (USA300), compared to 69% of pediatric isolates. In multivariate analyses, specimens from pediatric patients, wounds, non-intensive care unit (ICU) wards, and hospitals with a high proportion of Medicaid-insured patients were significantly associated with the detection of t008 strains. While community- and health care-associated MRSA reservoirs have begun to merge, significant differences remain in pediatric and adult patient populations. Community-associated MRSA spa type t008 is significantly more common in pediatric patients.

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