Comparison of the Prevalence of Methicillin‐Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Colonization among Hospital Personnel Between 2004 and 2008

1Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ
2Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ
3Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ
4Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ

Meeting: Hospital Medicine 2009, May 14-17, Chicago, Ill.

Abstract number: 71


We previously found that the prevalence of both methicillin‐resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and community‐associated me‐thicillin‐resistant 5. aureus (CA‐MRSA) among health care workers (HCWs) at an urban academic center in Camden, New Jersey, in 2004‐2005 was low (4.6% MRSA, 0.8% CAMRSA). Since then, there have been dramatic increases in CA‐MRSA infections in most urban areas. CA‐MRSA is now the most common pathogen in patients with skin and soft‐tissue infections in emergency departments across the United States, including in Camden. Asymptomatic colonization of MRSA among children and adults in the community has also increased. Rates of hospital‐associated MRSA infection have also continued to increase during this time. The purpose of this study was to compare the prevalence, epidemiologic features, and molecular characteristics of MRSA colonization among HCWs with that found 4 years ago at Cooper University Hospital.


Laboratory methods were identical to those used in the 2004‐2005 study. Nasal swab specimens were obtained from anterior nares of consented HCWs. Swabs were inoculated onto S110 agar plates and incubated at 37°C for 24‐72 hours. 5. aureus was identified by yellow‐orange color and colony morphology, and colonies were subcultured for further testing. We confirmed methicillin resistance by PCR detection of the mecA gene and by growth on oxacillin screen agar. We presumptively identified USA300 CA‐MRSA by PCR amplification of the Panton‐Valentine Leukocidin (pvl) gene. Epidemiological data were collected by confidential surveys from each participant.


We collected nasal swabs from 145 HCWs. Forty of 145 HCW (27.6%) were colonized with 5. aureus, similar to the rate found 4 years ago (33%). Only 1 HCW carried MRSA (0.6%), compared with the 11 of 254 found 4 years ago (4.2%, P = 0.06). The single MRSA isolate from 2008 did not carry the gene for the pvl toxin. This strain is being further characterized. Seventy‐five percent of HCWs participating in this study reported that they recently cared for patients with MRSA infection.


The overall prevalence of MRSA nasal carriage among HCWs at Cooper was found to be low in 2004‐2005 (4.2%), with very little CA‐MRSA carriage. Despite the surge of admissions of patients with CA‐MRSA colonization and infection and the overall increase in hospital MRSA from 2005 to 2008, our results suggest a trend toward a decrease of MRSA colonization among HCWs at Cooper and failed to show any increase in CA‐MRSA colonization. This could be secondary to recent enforcement of infection control measures instituted for patients admitted with MRSA. We will increase our sampling of HCW to confirm these findings.

Author Disclosure:

F. Momplaisir, none; C. Knob, none; H. Fraimow, none; A. Reboli, none.

To cite this abstract:

Momplaisir F, Fraimow H, Knob C, Reboli A. Comparison of the Prevalence of Methicillin‐Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Colonization among Hospital Personnel Between 2004 and 2008. Abstract published at Hospital Medicine 2009, May 14-17, Chicago, Ill. Abstract 71. Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2009; 4 (suppl 1). Accessed April 7, 2020.

« Back to Hospital Medicine 2009, May 14-17, Chicago, Ill.