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Prevalence of and risk factors for colonization with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus at the time of hospital admission


OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) colonization among patients presenting for hospital admission and to identify risk factors for MRSA colonization.

DESIGN: Surveillance cultures were performed at the time of hospital admission to identify patients colonized with S. aureus. A case-control study was performed to identify risk factors for MRSA colonization.

SETTING: A tertiary-care academic medical center.

PATIENTS: Adults presenting for hospital admission (N = 974).

RESULTS: S. aureus was isolated from 205 (21%) of the patients for whom cultures were performed. Methicillin-sensitive S. aureus was isolated from 179 (18.4%) of the patients, and MRSA was isolated from 26 (2.7%) of the patients. All 26 MRSA-colonized patients had been admitted to a healthcare facility in the preceding year, had at least one chronic illness, or both. In multivariate analyses comparing MRSA-colonized patients with control-patients, admission to a nursing home (odds ratio [OR], 16.5; 95% confidence interval [CI95], 1.4 to 192.1; P = .025) or a hospitalization of 5 days or longer during the preceding year (OR, 3.91; CI95, 1.1 to 13.9; P = .035) were independent predictors of MRSA colonization.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients colonized with MRSA admitted to this hospital likely acquired the organism during previous encounters with healthcare facilities. There was no evidence that MRSA colonization occurs commonly among low-risk individuals in this community. These data suggest that evaluation of recent healthcare exposures is essential if true community acquisition of MRSA is to be confirmed.

Jernigan JA, Pullen AL, Flowers L, Bell M, Jarvis WR

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2003 Jun;24(6):409-14

PMID: 12828316