ABCs Report: Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, 2005 (Update)

Last Updated: January 30, 2012; See methods and discussion for update explanation.

June 6, 2012: Content on this page kept for historical reasons.

Active Bacterial Core Surveillance (ABCs): Emerging Infections Program Network

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ABCs Areas

California (3 county San Francisco Bay area); Colorado (5 county Denver area); Connecticut; Georgia (8 county Atlanta area); Maryland (1 Baltimore area county); Minnesota (1 metro Twin City county); New York (1 Rochester county); Oregon (3 county Portland area); Tennessee (1 Nashville county).

ABCs Population

The surveillance areas represent 16,489,254 persons.
Source: National Center for Health Statistics bridged-race vintage 2005 postcensal file.

ABCs Case Definition

Invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) disease: isolation of MRSA from a normally sterile site in a resident of the surveillance area in 2005. Cases of disease are classified into one of three epidemiologic classifications. A case is classified as hospital-onset (HO) if the MRSA culture was obtained on or after the fourth calendar day of hospitalization, where admission is hospital day 1; as healthcare-associated community-onset (HACO) if the culture was obtained in an outpatient setting or before the fourth calendar day of hospitalization, and had one or more of the following: 1) a history of hospitalization, surgery, dialysis, or residence in a long term care facility in the previous year, or 2) the presence of a central vascular catheter; and as community-associated (CA) if none of the previously mentioned criteria are met.

ABCs Methodology

ABCs personnel routinely contacted all microbiology laboratories serving acute care hospitals in their area to identify cases. Standardized case report forms that include information on demographic characteristics, clinical syndrome, and outcome of illness were completed for each identified case. Convenience samples of isolates were collected and sent to CDC for routine testing, including: antimicrobial susceptibility testing, toxin testing and SCCmec typing. Regular laboratory audits were performed to ensure completeness of case ascertainment.

Rates of invasive MRSA disease among all patients were calculated using population estimates for 2005. Cases with unknown race were assigned race based on distribution of known race and gender by EIP site. Methodology to make national estimates was modified in January 2012 to adjust for receipt of dialysis, as well as age, race, and gender. Previously reported national estimates were adjusted for age and race only. Confidence intervals for nationally estimated incidence rates of disease and mortality were calculated based on the gamma distribution (Stat Med, 1997 16:791-801).

ABCs Results

ABC Racial/Ethnic Profiles

Reported ABCs Profiles
Race No. (Rate)a
White 3,578 (29.9)
Black 2,364 (78.3)
Other 192 (12.9)

Unknown race (n=691) distributed amongst known

aCases per 100,000 population for ABCs areas (crude rates).

PFGE Type by Antibiotic Resistance
PFGE Type (%) % PVL Pos. Clinda-Ra T/S-Rb Levo-Rc
USA100 (68.2) 0 99.3 1.8 99.9
USA300 (18.7) 98.6 9.2 1.3 50.8
USA500 (4.6) 0 55.9 94.1 97.1
USA800 (1.9) 0 12.0 4.0 52.0
IBERIAN (1.8) 4.6 51.8 63.0 85.2
OTHER (4.1) 22.5 65.1 3.0 57.6

a% Clindamycin resistant
b% Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole resistant
c% Levofloxicin resistant

Distribution of cases, deaths and PFGE type by Epidemiological Classification
MRSA Class No. (Rate)
No. (Rate)
Deaths c
PFGE Type (N,%)d
Tot N
PFGE Type (N,%)d
PFGE Type (N,%)d
PFGE Type (N,%)d
CA 966 (5.9) 105 (0.6) 222 56 (23.2) 145 (65.3) 12 (5.4)
HCAa 5,064 (30.7) 977 (5.9) 1,248 844 (67.6) 232 (18.9) 83 (6.7)
HCA-HO 1,601 (9.7) 418 (2.5) 417 309 (74.1) 69 (13.4) 25 (6.0)
HCA-HACO 3,463 (21.0) 559 (3.4) 831 535 (64.4) 176 (21.2) 58 (7.0)

aHCA: Healthcare-associated invasive MRSA infections; sum of patients that are classified as either HO or HACO.
bn=104; epidemiologic category unknown.
cn=16; epidemiologic category unknown.
disolates were eligible for testing at CDC

Reported Clinical Syndrome by Epidemiologic Class
Syndromea CA
Bloodstream Infection with other syndrome 585 1,676 547
Bloodstream Infection with no other syndrome 207 1,427 831
Pneumonia 137 410 260
Osteomyelitis 84 265 92
Endocarditis 120 212 38
Cellulitis 205 299 83
Wounds – Surgicalb 4 167 52
Wounds – Decubitus/Pressure Ulcers 17 87 36
Wounds/Abscessesc 61 79 26
Traumatic Wounds 14 18 5

aSome case patients had more than one syndrome.
bCombines deep tissue/organ infection and infection of a surgical wound, post operatively.
cCategory includes skin abscess, necrotizing fasciitis, gangrene, non-traumatic wounds.

National Estimates and Adjusted Incidence Rates of Invasive MRSA Infections
Epidemiologic Class Estimated No. Incidence Rate
(Confidence Interval)a
CA 16,624 5.61 (5.25-5.99)
HCA 93,006 31.38 (30.50-32.29)
HCA-HO 29,311 9.89 (9.4-10.4)
HCA-HACO 63,695 21.49 (20.76-22.24)
Overallb 111,345 37.56 (36.61-38.55)

aNational Estimates and Incidence (no. per 100,000 population per year) are adjusted for age, race, gender, and receipt of dialysis treatment using 2005 US Census Data.
b104 cases could not be classified into an epidemiological category or category is unknown and therefore are counted in the overall estimate only.

Incidence of Invasive MRSA by Epidemiological Class and Age Group 2005

Table data for this chart

National Estimates and Adjusted Incidence Rates for Mortality among Cases
Epidemiologic Class Estimated No. Mortality Rate
(Confidence Interval)a
CA 703 0.24 (0.17-0.33)
HCA 18,907 6.39 (5.99-6.82)
HCA-HO 7,984 2.69 (2.44-2.98)
HCA-HACO 10,923 3.68 (3.38-4.02)
Overallb 21,210 7.12 (6.70-7.57)

aNational Estimates and Mortality Rate (no. per 100,000 population per year) are adjusted for age, race, gender and receipt of dialysis treatment in the using 2005 US Census Data.
b16 cases epidemiological category or category is unknown and therefore are counted in the overall estimate only.

ABCs Discussion

Surveillance data from 2005 represent the first full year of performing population-based surveillance for invasive MRSA infections through the Emerging Infections Program/Active Bacterial Core Surveillance Activity. In January 2012, tables/figures were added to (1) display age-specific incidence rates by epidemiologic category; and (2) to report national estimates and incidence rates of disease and mortality by epidemiological class. Previous published estimates of 2005 data differ from those in this updated report. Current estimates use slightly different definitions for HACO status(previous documented MRSA colonization or infection is not a determinant in classifying patients) and estimates include initial and subsequent infections in the same patient. Also, HO cases are now defined based on reported calendar dates which also differs from previously published estimates (JAMA, 2007 Oct 17: 298 (15): 1765-71).


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2005. Active Bacterial Core Surveillance Report, Emerging Infections Program Network, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, 2005.

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