Epidemiological and biological determinants of Staphylococcus aureus clinical infection in New York State maximum security prisons.
Nationwide, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) presents an increasing hazard to inmates. This article reviews our 1-year (2005) experience with skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) in a medium-sized county jail. As part of a quality assurance process, the authors cultured every SSTI presenting to our institution. The authors found that a full 68% of SSTIs (50 of 74) were MRSA species, and new MRSA cases presented regularly throughout the year. Inmates usually have poor understanding of infectious processes and need constant support and education. Correctional health care providers must approach their antibiotic treatment for today's SSTIs with the knowledge that MRSA is very common. This article reviews treatment options, preventive measures, and institutional hygiene.