MRSA carriage rates vary widely in nursing homes, study finds

Dec 01, 2010

A study published in the January 2011 issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology finds that a high percentage of nursing home residents carry Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and suggests that some nursing homes could be doing more to prevent the spread of the bacteria, which can lead to hard-to-treat infections.

The study, which looked at 10 in Orange County, California, found that 31 percent of the residents who were tested were carrying MRSA (meaning they could pass the along to others, but were not necessarily sick with infection). That rate is substantially higher than rates found in hospitals and even intensive care units, according to Susan Huang, medical director of epidemiology and at the University of California Irvine Medical Center and one of the study’s authors.

The study also found, however, that carriage rates in each of the individual facilities in the study varied widely, from a high of 52 percent in one facility to a low of 7 percent in another.

“The high overall levels of MRSA are reason for concern,” Huang said. “But the variation in rates between facilities may be good news because it suggests some facilities are finding effective ways to contain the bacteria.”

Nursing homes have long been considered high risk facilities for MRSA infections. However, few studies have compared multiple facilities in one area to look for variation in MRSA carriage.

The researchers took nasal swabs from a sample of 100 residents in each of the 10 homes. They also took samples from 50 people at each home at the time they were admitted to get an idea of how much MRSA was coming into each facility.

The study found that a nursing home’s rate of MRSA carriage was not simply a result of how much MRSA came in with new residents, and suggests that some homes do a better job than others of containing the bacteria once it arrives. For example, two nursing homes in the study had identical MRSA intake rates of 12 percent, but one of those homes had an overall MRSA carriage among its established residents of 22 percent, while the other had a rate of 42 percent.

The next step, Huang said, is to find out exactly what these facilities are doing to better contain MRSA.

“The social environment in a nursing home has a positive influence on residents, who are encouraged to frequently mingle,” Huang said. “We don’t want to stymie that residential feel which can be very important to mental and physical health, but we think there’s more to be learned about what nursing homes can do to contain .”

Explore further: More effective kidney stone treatment, from the macroscopic to the nanoscale

More information: www.ryerson.ca/news/media/General_Public/20101130_RN_Beauchem.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

1 in 4 nursing home residents carry MRSA

Jun 04, 2009

MRSA is a major problem in nursing homes with one in four residents carrying the bacteria, a study by Queen's University Belfast and Antrim Area Hospital has found.

Being an MRSA carrier increases risk of infection and death

Jul 02, 2008

Patients harboring methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) for long periods of time continue to be at increased risk of MRSA infection and death, according to a new study in the July 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Di ...

Staph infections carry long-term risks

Jul 03, 2008

Patients who harbor the highly contagious bacterium causing staph infections can develop serious and sometimes deadly symptoms a year or longer after initial detection, a UC Irvine infectious disease researcher has found.

Study finds MRSA in Midwestern swine, workers

Jan 23, 2009

The first study documenting methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in swine and swine workers in the United States has been published by University of Iowa researchers.

MRSA head and neck infections increase among children

Jan 19, 2009

Rates of antibiotic-resistant head and neck infections increased in pediatric patients nationwide between 2001 and 2006, according to a report in the January issue of Archives of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, one of ...

Recommended for you

Researchers discover target for treating dengue fever

8 hours ago

Two recent papers by a University of Colorado School of Medicine researcher and colleagues may help scientists develop treatments or vaccines for Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis and other ...

Tracking flu levels with Wikipedia

9 hours ago

Can monitoring Wikipedia hits show how many people have the flu? Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital, USA, have developed a method of estimating levels of influenza-like illness in the American population by analysing ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Chronic inflammation linked to 'high-grade' prostate cancer

Men who show signs of chronic inflammation in non-cancerous prostate tissue may have nearly twice the risk of actually having prostate cancer than those with no inflammation, according to results of a new study led by researchers ...

Turning off depression in the brain

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...

Better thermal-imaging lens from waste sulfur

Sulfur left over from refining fossil fuels can be transformed into cheap, lightweight, plastic lenses for infrared devices, including night-vision goggles, a University of Arizona-led international team ...

Hackathon team's GoogolPlex gives Siri extra powers

(Phys.org) —Four freshmen at the University of Pennsylvania have taken Apple's personal assistant Siri to behave as a graduate-level executive assistant which, when asked, is capable of adjusting the temperature ...