Background. Although the epidemiology of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) has been explored in many investigations, management of this emerging infection has not been well-studied. For non-methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus skin and soft tissue abscesses, incision and drainage is generally adequate therapy without the use of antibiotics, but this has not been established for CA-MRSA.
Methods. Children presenting to Children’s Medical Center of Dallas for management of skin and soft tissue abscesses caused by culture-proved CA-MRSA were prospectively followed. We analyzed data from the initial evaluation and from two follow-up visits that focused on the management and outcome of CA-MRSA infection. Retrospective chart review was performed 2 to 6 months after the initial visit.
Results. Sixty-nine children were identified with culture-proved CA-MRSA skin and soft tissue abscess. Treatment consisted of drainage in 96% of patients and wound packing in 65%. All children were treated with antibiotics. Five patients (7%) were prescribed an antibiotic to which their CA-MRSA isolate was susceptible before culture results were known. Four patients (6%) required hospital admission on the first follow-up; none of these patients had received an antibiotic effective against CA-MRSA. A significant predictor of hospitalization was having a lesion initially >5 cm (P = 0.004). Initial ineffective antibiotic therapy was not a significant predictor of hospitalization (P = 1.0). Of the 58 patients initially given an ineffective antibiotic and managed as outpatients, an antibiotic active against CA-MRSA was given to 21 (36%) patients after results of cultures were known. No significant differences in response were observed in those who never received an effective antibiotic than in those who did.
Conclusions. Incision and drainage without adjunctive antibiotic therapy was effective management of CA-MRSA skin and soft tissue abscesses with a diameter of <5 cm in immunocompetent children.
From the Departments of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine (Divisions of Infectious Diseases) and Pathology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.
Accepted for publication Oct. 27, 2003.
MCL and AMR are co-first authors.
Reprints not available.