European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases

, Volume 31, Issue 1, pp 93-96

First online:

Increases in Australian cutaneous abscess hospitalisations: 1999–2008

  • V. L. VaskaAffiliated withUQ Centre for Clinical Research, The University of Queensland Email author 
  • , G. R. NimmoAffiliated withMicrobiology Department, Pathology Queensland Central
  • , M. JonesAffiliated withCentre for Healthcare Related Infections Surveillance and Prevention, Queensland Health
  • , K. GrimwoodAffiliated withQueensland Paediatric Infectious Diseases Laboratory, Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute, The University of Queensland, Royal Children’s HospitalDepartment of Infectious Diseases, Royal Children’s Hospital
  • , D. L. PatersonAffiliated withUQ Centre for Clinical Research, The University of QueenslandDepartment of Infectious Diseases, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital

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Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause of skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs). Such infections have increased in several countries recently and at a time when community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (CA-MRSA) strains have emerged globally. We examined changes in Australian hospitalisations for the treatment of cutaneous abscesses between 1999 and 2008, a period when increased numbers of CA-MRSA infections were being reported. National hospitalisation data for cutaneous abscess treatment (1999–2008) were examined. Hospitalisation numbers were collated and age-specific admission rates calculated and examined for changes over time. Yearly admissions for the treatment of cutaneous abscesses increased by 48%, from 8,849 (1999–2000) to 13,126 (2007–2008). The crude annual hospitalisation rate per 100,000 population rose from 46 to 62 respectively. However, increases in admission rates were limited to the 10 to 54 years age range. Incidence rate ratios (IRRs) for final versus baseline year admission rates for these age groups ranged from 1.36 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.04–1.78) for those aged 10–14 years to 1.64 (95% CI 1.26–2.12) for those aged 45–49 years; p < 0.05. Increases in hospitalisation for cutaneous abscess treatment have occurred in Australia during the last decade. Research into the underlying causes and prevention of these infections is a public health priority.