The dramatic rise in community-based S. aureus infections, many due to methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA), has become an important public health problem. This proposal will focus on prisoners, a high-risk group that has received limited attention. Prior studies have examined prison outbreaks without addressing several critical questions. These questions include the role of S. aureus colonization in the prison environment, how S. aureus is introduced into prisons and what the modalities of S. aureus persistence and transmission are in the nonepidemic prison setting. Our long term goal is to develop strategies that will prevent and control transmission of S. aureus within the prison system as well as in similar crowded environments.
Our specific aims are the following. 1) We will identify patterns of S. aureus strain transmission within the prison. A cross-sectional analysis of prisoners will be performed to determine the prevalence of S. aureus colonization and/or infection. The role of assigned activities, environmental exposures, prisoner contacts and their spatial proximity in S. aureus transmission will be examined. Bacterial factors associated with the predominance of particular clones of S. aureus will be examined. 2) We will determine the factors associated with the development of clinical infections within the prison. A subset of inmates with culture proven S. aureus infections will be studied in a nested case-control study to determine factors contributing to symptomatic infection in the prison. 3) We will identify risk factors associated with colonization and/or infection with S. aureus at prisoner intake and at release. New prison inmates will be interviewed cultured and their prison/jail records reviewed. Risk factors predictive of S. aureus colonization/infection on arrival will be identified. Because >600,000 prisoners are released into the community each year, they can serve as an important reservoir for staphylococcal transmission. Therefore, S. aureus colonization at the time of release will also be assessed and factors contributing to colonization at release will be examined. This proposal provides an unparalleled opportunity to examine transmission of S. aureus (including MRSA) within the prison setting. The ongoing collaboration of prison personnel with the investigators is unique as is the integration of methodological approaches that will allow us to examine the roles of networks coupled with spatia characteristics in prisons.

Public Health Relevance

This proposal will focus on prisoners, a group at particularly high risk for these infections. The study will investigate how S. aureus is transmitted in this population.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project (R01)
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Study Section
Clinical Research and Field Studies of Infectious Diseases Study Section (CRFS)
Program Officer
Huntley, Clayton C
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Columbia University (N.Y.)
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
New York
United States
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Befus, M; Mukherjee, D V; Herzig, C T A et al. (2017) Correspondence analysis to evaluate the transmission of Staphylococcus aureus strains in two New York State maximum-security prisons. Epidemiol Infect 145:2161-2165
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Befus, Montina B; Miko, Benjamin A; Herzig, Carolyn T A et al. (2016) HIV and colonization with Staphylococcus aureus in two maximum-security prisons in New York State. J Infect 73:568-577
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Miko, Benjamin A; Befus, Montina; Herzig, Carolyn T A et al. (2015) Epidemiological and biological determinants of Staphylococcus aureus clinical infection in New York State maximum security prisons. Clin Infect Dis 61:203-10
Uhlemann, Anne-Catrin; Dordel, Janina; Knox, Justin R et al. (2014) Molecular tracing of the emergence, diversification, and transmission of S. aureus sequence type 8 in a New York community. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111:6738-43
Bai, Jennifer R; Mukherjee, Dhritiman V; Befus, Montina et al. (2014) Concordance between medical records and interview data in correctional facilities. BMC Med Res Methodol 14:50
Alvarez, Kimberly J; Befus, Montina; Herzig, Carolyn T A et al. (2014) Prevalence and correlates of hepatitis C virus infection among inmates at two New York State correctional facilities. J Infect Public Health 7:517-21
Mukherjee, D V; Herzig, C T A; Jeon, C Y et al. (2014) Prevalence and risk factors for Staphylococcus aureus colonization in individuals entering maximum-security prisons. Epidemiol Infect 142:484-93

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