Journal Article

Risk Factors for Infection and Colonization with Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant <i>Staphylococcus aureus</i> in the Los Angeles County Jail: A Case-Control Study

Cynthia L. Maree, Samantha J. Eells, Jennifer Tan, Elizabeth A. Bancroft, Mark Malek, Nina T. Harawa, Martha J. Lewis, Elaine Santana and Loren G. Miller

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 51, issue 11, pages 1248-1257
Published in print December 2010 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online December 2010 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/657067
Risk Factors for Infection and Colonization with Community-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the Los Angeles County Jail: A Case-Control Study

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Background. Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections and outbreaks occur in correctional facilities, such as jails and prisons. Spread of these infections can be extremely difficult to control. Development of effective prevention protocols requires an understanding of MRSA risk factors in incarcerated persons.

Methods. We performed a case-control study investigating behavioral risk factors associated with MRSA infection and colonization. Case patients were male inmates with confirmed MRSA infection. Control subjects were male inmates without skin infection. Case patients and control subjects completed questionnaires and underwent collection of nasal swab samples for culture for MRSA. Microbiologic analysis was performed to characterize recovered MRSA isolates.

Results. We enrolled 60 case patients and 102 control subjects. Of the case patients, 21 (35%) had MRSA nasal colonization, compared with 11 control subjects (11%) (P<.001). Among MRSA isolates tested, 100% were the USA300 strain type. Factors associated with MRSA skin infection included MRSA nares colonization, lower educational level, lack of knowledge about “Staph” infections, lower rate of showering in jail, recent skin infection, sharing soap with other inmates, and less preincarceration contact with the health care system. Risk factors associated with MRSA colonization included antibiotic use in the previous year and lower rate of showering.

Conclusions. We identified several risks for MRSA infection in male inmates, many of which reflected preincarceration factors, such as previous skin infection and lower educational level. Some mutable factors, such as showering frequency, knowledge about Staph, and soap sharing, may be targets for intervention to prevent infection in this vulnerable population.

Journal Article.  4339 words.  Illustrated.

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

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