Background: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major public health concern worldwide. Healthcare workers (HCWs) are an important source of transmission of MRSA. We conducted a prospective study to define the frequency of S. aureus nasal colonization with emphasis on the carriage of MRSA in HCWs in relation to the intensity of patient contact. Methods: Out-of-hospital care emergency medical technicians and students, and HCWs in the emergency department, intensive care unit and a long-term care facility (LTCF) were enrolled to compare the prevalence of MRSA and methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) nasal colonization. The MRSA isolates were further identified by their microbiological and molecular characteristics. Findings: S. aureus was isolated from 63 of 248 HCWs (25.4%). The overall MRSA nasal carriage rate was 15/248, 6%, and the prevalence was higher in the HCWs who had worked for 5–10 years (12.8%), and among female HCWs (10.3%) than male HCWs (0.9%). LTCFs had the highest prevalence (12%). In contrast, the overall carriage of MSSA was 48/248, 19.4%, and most carriers worked for ≥5 years (52.1%). Hospital nurses had the highest rate of MSSA carriage (21.4%). Most of the MRSA isolates were SCCmec IV/ST59 or ST45 (60%), and were resistant to erythromycin and clindamycin (53%). Conclusions: Hospital nurses have highest S. aureus nasal carriage, whereas HCWs in the LTCFs comprise a significant reservoir of MRSA colonization. The differences in the characteristics of MRSA and MSSA nasal carriage among HCWs highlights the importance on long-term nasal screening of S. aureus in healthcare facilities.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases