Background: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an important nosocomial pathogen in acute care hospitals and long-term care facilities. Few studies have been reported in private skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) not experiencing outbreaks of infections caused by MRSA. METHODS: From a 149-bed SNF with no outbreaks, we report a 1-year prospective surveillance study of S. aureus colonization and infection, with focus on S. aureus phenotypes, both methicillin susceptible (MS) and methicillin resistant (MR). Nasal and stool or rectal screening cultures were done on admission, and all patients underwent screening on at least a quarterly basis for 1 year. RESULTS: Overall, 35% of patients were colonized at least once with S. aureus, (72% MS, 25% MR, and 3% mixed phenotypes), 94% of the MRSA were ciprofloxacin resistant. Nasal colonization with any S. aureus was more frequent, but 13% of patients had positive results only in rectal specimens. Twenty-one percent of the newly admitted and 15% of continuing patients acquired colonization during their stay in the SNE Colonization was transient or persistent, persisted longer in the nares compared with colonization in rectal specimens, and was more stable for methicillin-susceptible S. aureus. Nine percent of patients had development of infection with S. aureus. There was no indication that MRSA colonization led to more infections than methicillin-susceptible S. aureus. Of the 13 infected patients in whom cultures had previously been obtained, seven (54%) had been colonized by the same phenotype strains. CONCLUSIONS: In this private SNF, endemic S. aureus infections occur at a low frequency, reflecting a moderate level of colonization with S. aureus. However, a trend showing gradual increases in frequencies of colonization and infection is of concern and suggests that in this SNF, future intervention could become warranted.

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Staphylococcus aureus: Resources
American Journal of Infection Control
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Lee, Y.-L., Cesario, T., Gupta, G., Flionis, L., Tran, C., Decker, M., & Thrupp, L. (1997). Surveillance of colonization and infection with Staphylococcus aureus susceptible or resistant to methicillin in a community skilled-nursing facility. American Journal of Infection Control, 25, 312–321. Retrieved from