The first case of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Greenland was diagnosed in 2000 and led to the first guideline on screening and treatment for MRSA. Up to 2015 there were only 13 patients with MRSA but since then a nearly 4-fold increase in incidence has been seen.
The objectives of this study were to analyze the reasons for this increase.
MRSA data were collected from the laboratory surveillance database at Dronning Ingrids Hospital, typing results from the Reference Laboratory for Antimicrobial Resistance and Staphylococci at SSI, and the patient records.
From 2000 to 2017, 48 patients (15 children and 33 adults) have been diagnosed with MRSA. 30 patients were colonized with MRSA, predominantly in the nose and throat. 18 patients had infections: conjunctivitis, middle ear infections, wounds, skin abscesses, mastitis, surgical site infections e.g.
The increase since 2015 was mainly due to three large outbreaks in three different cities: Aasiaat in 2014/2015 (seven persons with MRSA; three children and four adults), the capital Nuuk in 2016 (six persons with MRSA; two children and four adults) and Tasiilaq in 2017 (13 persons with MRSA; three children and ten adults). The first two outbreaks were community-acquired with transmission in families and the last one was community-acquired or community-onset hospital acquired. Each outbreak was caused by a specific MRSA-type: t902 CC22 in Aasiaat (unknown epidemiology), t3979 CC5 in Nuuk (probably from Australia), and t304 CC6 in Tasiilaq (probably from Denmark).
MRSA was mainly imported from Denmark or abroad due to admission to hospital or due to traveling to high-endemic countries like Australia, but in some cases the epidemiology was unknown. Transmission occurred mainly in families with close contact.
The increasing number of patients with MRSA in Greenland can be explained by factors such as import from Denmark or abroad due to admission to hospital or traveling, and transmission in Greenland.
An ongoing surveillance, compliance to screening procedures (especially patients admitted to hospitals abroad) and guidelines for infection prevention and control are necessary in order to combat MRSA in Greenland in the future.
A. B. Jensen, None
P. Poulsen, None
A. Petersen, None
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