Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 21788461
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2011 Oct;55(10):4888-95.
Community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA) is increasingly common in hospitals, with potentially serious consequences. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of antibiotic prescription patterns on the selection of CA-MRSA within hospitals, in a context of competition with other circulating staphylococcal strains, including methicillin-sensitive (MSSA) and hospital-associated methicillin-resistant (HA-MRSA) strains. We developed a computerized agent-based model of S. aureus transmission in a hospital ward in which CA-MRSA, MSSA, and HA-MRSA strains may cocirculate. We investigated a wide range of antibiotic prescription patterns in both intensive care units (ICUs) and general wards, and we studied how differences in antibiotic exposure may explain observed variations in the success of CA-MRSA invasion in the hospitals of several European countries and of the United States. Model predictions underlined the influence of antibiotic prescription patterns on CA-MRSA spread in hospitals, especially in the ICU, where the endemic prevalence of CA-MRSA carriage can range from 3% to 20%, depending on the simulated prescription pattern. Large antibiotic exposure with drugs effective against MSSA but not MRSA was found to promote invasion by CA-MRSA. We also found that, should CA-MRSA acquire fluoroquinolone resistance, a major increase in CA-MRSA prevalence could ensue in hospitals worldwide. Controlling the spread of highly community-prevalent CA-MRSA within hospitals is a challenge. This study demonstrates that antibiotic exposure strategies could participate in this control. This is all the more important in wards such as ICUs, which may play the role of incubators, promoting CA-MRSA selection in hospitals.