Outbreaks of infection caused by community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in a Canadian correctional facility

Can J Infect Dis Med Microbiol. 2005 Nov;16(6):343-8. doi: 10.1155/2005/698181.


Background: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been identified in prison settings in the United States. The present study investigated two clusters of skin and soft tissue infection caused by community-acquired (CA) MRSA in a correctional facility in southern Ontario.

Methods: Outbreak investigations were conducted by the responsible public health authority. Strain relatedness was assessed through comparison of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and antibiograms.

Results: Two distinct outbreaks of CAMRSA-associated disease occurred in 2002 and 2004. Most patients presented with abscesses in the lower extremities. All isolates had identical DNA banding patterns on pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. One-half of the affected inmates resided in a cellblock with one other affected inmate. No other risk factors were identified.

Conclusions: One of the first outbreaks of CAMRSA infections in a correctional facility in Canada is documented. Taken in conjunction with outbreaks elsewhere, this suggests that residence in correctional facilities may be a risk factor for CAMRSA infection.

Keywords: Canada; Community-acquired MRSA; Correctional facility; Panton-Valentine leukocidin.