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Methicillin-Resistant S. Aureus Infections Spread at Hospital

More than one-quarter of 343 hand infection patients seen in 21-month period tested positive for infection

MONDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- More than a quarter of patients treated for hand infections at a Philadelphia hospital had methicillin-resistant S. aureus, with the frequency of community-acquired cases surging in the final third of the 21-month study period, researchers report in the July issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Ravi V. Kiran, M.D., of Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, and colleagues investigated the treatment of 343 hand infection cases at their hospital during a 21-month period from 2004 to 2005 to track cases of laboratory-confirmed methicillin-resistant S. aureus.

The researchers found that 26 percent (89) of the patients treated for hand infections tested positive for methicillin-resistant S. aureus. Of these 89 patients, the vast majority -- 75 -- had community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus.

The frequency of community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus cases surged from 14 percent over the first 14 months of the 21-month study period to 40 percent during the last seven months, the researchers found.

"The…findings at Temple University Hospital may help to alert health care providers to take necessary steps to control the spread of methicillin-resistant S. aureus in the community and in the inpatient setting," the authors write. "Cultures should be carefully followed and infections should be treated with appropriate antibiotics."

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