History of MRSA


MRSA was first identified in Europe in the early 1960’s. It was not reported in the United States until 1981, where it was found in intravenous drug users in Detroit, Michigan

Comment: I attended medical school in Detroit in the early 1980’s. At that time, MRSA was emerging as a significant concern in Detroit hospitals, and I had the opportunity to be involved in the care of these patients. Little did we know that MRSA would become and remain a national concern! 

Kirk Bortel M.D.

MRSA In Large Urban Hospitals

At first, MRSA was limited to large urban hospitals. Reasons for this include:

  • Large hospitals see a greater number of patients and are a referral center for smaller hospitals. 
  • Serious infections, including MRSA, funnel into these larger hospitals.1
  • Original strains of MRSA had an affinity for the healthcare setting, i.e. healthcare-associated MRSA. For more information see “What Is MRSA?” /“Healthcare-associated MRSA.” 

MRSA In the Community

Today, MRSA is found in hospitals of all sizes, and has spread beyond hospital walls into the community setting. Reasons for this include: 


1 “Urban Hospitals May Act as Breeding Ground for MRSA” MedlinePlus, May 16, 2012 - reported research from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.