The purpose of this study was to determine whether patients who become carriers of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) during their stay in hospital, remain colonized after discharge. Thirty-six patients colonized with MRSA during one of three outbreaks at Utrecht University Hospital (1986-89) were screened 2 or 3 years after they had become carriers. Patients were also interviewed to determine factors contributing to persistent carriage, such as antibiotics, re-admissions to the hospital, presence of skin lesions and chronic diseases. At the same time transmission of MRSA to family members was determined. The epidemic MRSA strain was still found in three patients (8%). One was a cystic fibrosis patient who had had frequent re-admissions to the hospital and had received several course of antibiotic treatment. Both of the other patients had skin lesions: a fistula and a colostomy respectively. None of the 44 family members of the patients was colonized or infected with MRSA. We conclude that long-term MRSA carriage occurs with low frequency and is comparable to persistent carriage of methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA). Transmission of MRSA to healthy individuals in an antibiotic-free environment is a rare event.

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Keywords Netherlands, adolescent, aged, carrier state/microbiology/transmission, comparative study, family health, hospitals, university, human, male, methicillin resistance, middle aged, patient discharge, staphylococcal infections/microbiology/transmission, staphylococcal skin Infections/microbiology/transmission, staphylococcus aureus/drug effects/isolation & purification, time factors
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M. Frenay, H., Vandenbroucke-Grauls, C.M.J.E., J. Molkenboer, M., & Verhoef, J.. (1992). Long-term carriage, and transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus after discharge from hospital. Journal of Hospital Infection, 22(3), 207–215. Retrieved from