Where MRSA colonizes on the human body

Jan 05, 2011

When methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) is carried in the nose (nares), it is a risk factor for an invasive infection, including a surgical site infection. Some studies have found that the heavier the carriage of MRSA in the nose, the greater the risk of transmission to others and the greater risk of infection to the patient. Few studies to date have assessed the differences in quantity of MRSA at different body sites. A new study from Rhode Island Hospital now sheds light on both the quantity of MRSA at different body sites and the relationship between the quantities at different sites. The study is published in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

The investigators found that culturing the nose was more likely to reveal MRSA than culturing under the arms (axilla), the groin, or perineum (skin between the rectum and genitals). The researchers also found a strong correlation between the quantity of MRSA in the nose and the likelihood that other body sites were colonized with MRSA -- -- when there was a large quantity of MRSA in the nose of a patient, it was likely that there was also a large quantity of MRSA in their axilla, perineum, or groin as well.

Leonard Mermel, DO, medical director of the department of epidemiology and at Rhode Island Hospital and lead author says, "This study shows us that the quantities of MRSA at different body sites are highly correlated. Also, if screening cultures are to be done for MRSA, it is best to screen the nose and groin to get the highest yield."

Mermel concludes, "We hope that that future studies will assess whether or not a greater number of body sites colonized with MRSA or a greater quantity of MRSA at those body sites impacts the likelihood of future MRSA infections."

The researchers were unable to find a correlation between the number of body sites with MRSA and likelihood of having an active MRSA infection at the time the cultures were obtained or in the year before the study. Of the patients who had MRSA in their nose at the time the cultures were obtained, the quantity of MRSA was surprisingly lower in those patients who had an active as opposed to those that did not have an active infection at that time, or during the year prior to enrollment.

Explore further: Revealing camouflaged bacteria

Related Stories

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 ...

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.

Recommended for you

For resetting circadian rhythms, neural cooperation is key

19 minutes ago

Fruit flies are pretty predictable when it comes to scheduling their days, with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk and rest times in between. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on April 17th h ...

Rapid and accurate mRNA detection in plant tissues

1 hour ago

Gene expression is the process whereby the genetic information of DNA is used to manufacture functional products, such as proteins, which have numerous different functions in living organisms. Messenger RNA (mRNA) serves ...

For cells, internal stress leads to unique shapes

20 hours ago

From far away, the top of a leaf looks like one seamless surface; however, up close, that smooth exterior is actually made up of a patchwork of cells in a variety of shapes and sizes. Interested in how these ...

Adventurous bacteria

21 hours ago

To reproduce or to conquer the world? Surprisingly, bacteria also face this problem. Theoretical biophysicists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich have now shown how these organisms should ...

User comments : 3

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

sstritt
1 / 5 (1) Jan 05, 2011
Article never states how prevalent MRSA is. Anybody have an idea on how common it is?
Quantum_Conundrum
2.5 / 5 (2) Jan 05, 2011
Article never states how prevalent MRSA is. Anybody have an idea on how common it is?


Everybody has several hundred to several thousand colonies of various strains of Staph growing on their body at any given time. It's highly probable that ever person has at least one colony of MRSA on their body at any given time.

Almost every bump or pimple on your body is a staph infection.

A lot of times the reason wounds get infected so quickly is because the staph is already on your body. When a sharp object such as splintered wood on a boat wreck pierces your skin it contaminates your tissue both with what was already on the surface of your skin and whatever was on the wood. Staph lives off human blood, so it isn't actually introduced by foreign objects. It comes from infections already on your body which would otherwise be harmless due to your skin protecting you. But once it gets in an open wound it can multiply exponentially.
Question
3 / 5 (2) Jan 05, 2011
Rubbing alcohol pads over any minor wound or insect bite can drastically reduce the time it takes to heal.

Mosquito bites disappear in about 12 hours it treated with alcohol within a few minutes of being bitten.

More news stories

Tiny power plants hold promise for nuclear energy

Small underground nuclear power plants that could be cheaper to build than their behemoth counterparts may herald the future for an energy industry under intense scrutiny since the Fukushima disaster, the ...