Prevalence and molecular epidemiology of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in nursing home residents in northern Germany

J Hosp Infect. 2011 Jun;78(2):108-12. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2011.02.011. Epub 2011 Apr 8.


Nursing home residents are a population at risk for carrying meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). To better guide infection control and healthcare network initiatives, we investigated the point prevalence and molecular epidemiology of MRSA colonisation among nursing home residents in Brunswick, northern Germany. Among the 32 participating nursing homes of the available 34 in the region, 68% of residents (1827 of 2688) were screened for nasal and/or wound colonisation. A total of 139 residents (7.6%; 95% confidence interval: 6.4-8.8%) were identified as MRSA positive, almost six-fold more than the 24 MRSA carriers (0.9%) expected according to the nursing homes' pre-test information. Although known risk factors including urinary tract catheters, wounds, preceding hospital admission, and high grade resident care were confirmed, none was sensitive enough to be considered as the sole determinant of MRSA carriage. spa typing revealed that more than 70% of isolates belonged to the Barnim strain (ST-22, EMRSA-15, CC22) typical for hospital-acquired MRSA in northern Germany. There was no evidence for the presence of community-acquired or livestock-associated S. aureus strains. These data show that in northern Germany MRSA has spread from the hospital environment to other healthcare institutions, which must now be regarded as important reservoirs for MRSA transmission.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carrier State / epidemiology*
  • Carrier State / microbiology
  • Carrier State / prevention & control
  • Carrier State / transmission
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Homes for the Aged / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / classification
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / genetics*
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification
  • Molecular Epidemiology*
  • Nasal Cavity / microbiology
  • Nursing Homes / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / prevention & control
  • Staphylococcal Infections / transmission