Journal Article

Rapid Geographic Spread of a Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Strain

R. S. Roman, J. Smith, M. Walker, S. Byrne, K. Ramotar, B. Dyck, A. Kabani and L. E. Nicolle

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 25, issue 3, pages 698-705
Published in print September 1997 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online September 1997 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/513758
Rapid Geographic Spread of a Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Strain

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In May 1993, an outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was identified at our tertiary care teaching center. The epidemic MRSA strain was transmitted efficiently in the hospital environment. Subsequent investigations indicated that the strain had been introduced into western Canada by a patient who had recently been hospitalized for 3 months in the Punjab, India, and had been admitted to a hospital in rural British Columbia shortly after his arrival in Canada. Transfer of the patient to a hospital in Vancouver and subsequent transfer of a colonized patient contact to a hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba, resulted in major outbreaks of MRSA at these two large tertiary care centers within 6 weeks of the arrival of the index case in Canada. Epidemiological typing of the S. aureus coagulase gene with use of a polymerase chain reaction method and pulsedfield gel electrophoresis documented clonality of this strain. These outbreaks again illustrate both the propensity of certain strains of S. aureus to produce epidemic disease, including rapid spread within the institutional setting, and the global nature of problems with antimicrobial resistance.

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Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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