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Press Release

September 23, 2003 Contact: CDC, Division of Media Relations

CDC Awards $3 Million for Study of Community-associated Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA)

Four universities will receive grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct research into community-associated methicillin resistant Stapylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA). Approximately $3 million will be distributed to the institutions over the next three years to examine such issues as the bacteria’s genetic characteristics, characteristics of patients’ illnesses and outcomes, and the mechanisms of infection and disease.

“CDC is concerned about the increasing reports of community-associated MRSA. Controlling the spread of MRSA is a high priority in our efforts to prevent antimicrobial resistance. We are committed to supporting new applied research to the study of MRSA in the community, and we are excited to be able to fund these grants,” said CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding.

Receiving grants will be Columbia University, Harbor-UCLA Research & Education Institute, the University of California at San Francisco, and the University of Chicago. The grant recipients will assemble groups of investigators with the expertise to address the key clinical and public health questions surrounding the spread of the disease. They will collect data to help define risk factors for infection and methods of treatment.

“This funding will help us understand more about strains of MRSA causing disease in the community. By characterizing these strains of CA-MRSA, we can enhance national and local prevention efforts,” said Dr. James M. Hughes, director of CDC’s National Center for Infectious Diseases.

The investigators and their projects are:

Columbia University. “Prevalence of Community-MRSA in Northern Manhattan.” Principal Investigator: Franklin Lowy. Investigators will use surveys to examine the prevalence and correlates (TRANSLATE) of CA-MRSA. They will examine isolates of MRSA using a variety of molecular techniques and examine the isolates for virulence.

Harbor-UCLA Research & Education Institute. “Clinical, Epidemiologic and Molecular Descriptions of Epidemic CA-MRSA.” Principal Investigator: Loren G. Miller. Working in Los Angeles, investigators will evaluate risk factors for CA-MRSA among adults and children, characterize isolates through molecular typing, and analyze clinical characteristics associated with infection with CA-MRSA.

University of California, San Francisco. “Molecular Epidemiology of Community MRSA.” Principal Investigator: Henry F. Chambers. A group of physicians will collect MRSA isolates and associated information about infected patients in San Francisco. Isolates will be examined using various molecular techniques, and investigators will study evolutionary relationships among MRSA isolates.

University of Chicago. “Community-Associated MRSA.” Principal Investigator: Robert S. Daum. Investigators will study clinical, epidemiological, and molecular characteristics of CA-MRSA in Chicago; Bethel, AK; Dallas; and Taiwan. Isolates of MRSA will be analyzed using a variety of molecular techniques and assessed for virulence.

For more information about community-associated MRSA, visit CDC’s web site at

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This page last updated September 23,  2003

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