Mapping MRSA: Using geography to understand drug resistant S. aureus in humans and livestock

Authors: Margaret Carrel*, University of Iowa
Topics: Medical and Health Geography
Keywords: drug resistance, mapping, MRSA
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Virginia C, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The emergence and spread of drug resistant forms of Staphylococcus aureus, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), has major health implications in the US and globally. Drug resistant S. aureus limits treatment options for infected individuals and can often be more virulent than drug sensitive forms. Drug resistant S. aureus circulates extensively in community and healthcare settings in the US and is also commonly found in intensive livestock production, particularly of hogs. Using geographic techniques, we can understand how rural residence or livestock contact increases the risk of drug resistant S. aureus colonization and infection and how contact with meat contaminated with S. aureus can potentially transfer the bacteria into urban households. Spatial analysis of surveillance data and infections reported in the academic literature can help us to explore ideas about diffusion of novel drug resistant types over space, to understand competition between drug resistant S. aureus types and to determine at a global scale whether countries with shared borders exhibit similar diversity of drug resistant types. By combining analytic methods from geography, epidemiology and ecology we can start to piece together the people and places in which drug resistant S. aureus successfully emerges and spreads and maintains circulation.

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