Background: The prevalence of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections increased at the University of Chicago Children's Hospital (UCCH) from 10 per 100,000 admissions from 1988 to 1990 to 259 per 100,000 admissions from 1993 to 1995. Because this increase may have represented a one time occurrence or a limited disease outbreak, we updated our previous observations at UCCH in 1998 and 1999 to see whether this trend had continued.
Design: Prospective observational study.
Results: Twenty-three hospitalized children had an MRSA isolate during the 1-year study period. Ten were community-acquired, equally distributed between children with predisposing risk factors and those without. The overall prevalence of community-acquired MRSA was 208 per 100,000 admissions. Seven of the 10 community-acquired MRSA isolates were susceptible to clindamycin. Skin and soft tissue infections predominated among the children with a community-acquired MRSA isolate. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis of the 10 community-acquired MRSA isolates revealed 8 distinct patterns; these data suggest that multiple clones were circulating at UCCH.
Conclusion: MRSA are no longer confined to children with established risk factors. The prevalence of community-acquired MRSA among children without identified risk factors is high in our institution.