Epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) among residents of nursing homes in Belgium

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2009 Dec;64(6):1299-306. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkp345. Epub 2009 Sep 24.


Objectives: A national survey was conducted to determine the prevalence, risk factors and molecular epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carriage among nursing home (NH) residents in Belgium.

Methods: A random stratified, cross-sectional prevalence survey was conducted in NH residents who were screened for MRSA carriage by multisite enriched culture. Characteristics of NHs and residents were collected by a questionnaire survey and analysed by two-stage logistic regression modelling. MRSA isolates were genotyped by PFGE, staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing, multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and resistance genes.

Results: Of 2953 residents screened in 60 NHs, 587 (19.9%) were MRSA carriers. Risk factors included hospital contact, antibiotic exposure, impaired mobility and skin lesions at the resident level, and lack of MRSA surveillance, lack of antibiotic therapeutic formulary and the combination of less-developed infection control activities and a high ratio of physicians to residents at the institution level. MRSA isolates showed eight major types, three of which were predominant: B2-ST45-SCCmec IV (49%; where ST stands for sequence type); A21-ST8-SCCmec IV (13%); and A20-ST8-SCCmec IV (10%). Each was recovered in 55, 21 and 25 NHs, respectively. The geographical distribution of NH genotypes paralleled that of acute-care hospitals.

Conclusions: A high prevalence of MRSA carriage in NH residents was associated with hospital care, co-morbidities and less-developed coordination of institutional care. The predominant MRSA strains from NH residents and hospitalized patients of the same area were identical. Strengthening and coordination of MRSA surveillance and control activities are warranted within and between NHs and hospitals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Belgium / epidemiology
  • Carrier State / epidemiology*
  • Carrier State / microbiology*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • Female
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / classification
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / genetics
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification*
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology*


  • DNA, Bacterial