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New strains of MRSA found in nursing homes

February 15, 2013
by Sandra Hoban, Managing Editor
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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been a great concern for hospitals over the past few years. Patients in hospitals and other healthcare settings, who have had invasive medical procedures, are at risk of infection. Now, a study conducted by researchers from the University of California, Irvine, finds that strains of community-assisted MRSA, or CA-MRSA, are prevalent in nursing homes. CA-MRSA can infect even healthy people who haven’t been in a hospital or had medical procedures

In the study, published in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, researchers acquired samples of the various strains by collecting nasal swabs of 100 nursing home residents in each nursing home in the study. They took an additional 100 swabs from newly admitted residents. Of the swabs that were MRSA-positive, they found that 25 percent tested positive for CA-MRSA and that the bacterial infection was present in 20 of the 22 nursing homes studied.

Other findings showed that CA-MRSA was more prevalent in nursing homes with a younger (under age 65) population. Researchers believe that the residents' greater mobility and socialization was the cause of this higher rate of infection.

Lead researcher Courtney Reynolds-Murphy said, in an article, “We believe these at-risk facilities could benefit from further infection control interventions such as environmental cleaning and skin decolonization.” Nursing home-specific infection control procedures need to be developed since the interactions and activities differ from those in hospitals.

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