This study presents enhanced surveillance data from 2004 – 2018 for all community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) specimens collected in Western Australia (WA), and describes the changing epidemiology over this period. A total of 57,557 cases were reviewed. Annual incidence rates increased from 86.2 cases per 100,000 population to 245.6 per 100,000 population (IRR = 2.9, CI95 2.7 – 3.0). The proportion of isolates carrying Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL)-associated genes increased from 3.4% to 59.8% (χ2 test for trend 7021.9, p<0.001). The emergence of PVL-positive, “Queensland CA-MRSA” (ST93- IV) and “WA 121” (ST5-IV) accounted for the majority of increases in CA-MRSA across the study period. It is unclear why some clones are more prolific in certain regions. In WA, CA-MRSA rates increase as indices of temperature and humidity increase after controlling for socioeconomic disadvantage. We suggest climatic conditions may contribute to transmission, along with other socio-behavioural factors. A better understanding of the ability for certain clones to form ecological niches and cause outbreaks is required.


study, Staphylococcus aureus infections, methicillin-resistant, community-association, Western Australia

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