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Title: Prevalence and characteristics of community carriage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Malta
Authors: Scerri, Jeanesse
Monecke, Stefan
Borg, Michael Angelo
Keywords: Antibiotics
Antibacterial agents -- Periodicals
Staphylococcus aureus
Staphylococcal infections
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Atlantis Press
Citation: Scerri, J., Monecke, S., & Borg, M. A. (2013). Prevalence and characteristics of community carriage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Malta. Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health, 3(3), 165-173.
Abstract: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major nosocomial pathogen worldwide. Malta is one of the countries with the highest MRSA prevalence in Europe, as identified from hospital blood cultures [1]. However, community prevalence of MRSA has never previously been investigated. This study aimed at establishing the prevalence of community MRSA nasal colonization in Maltese individuals and identifying the clonal characteristics of the detected isolates. Nasal swabs were collected from 329 healthy individuals who were also asked to complete a brief questionnaire about risk factors commonly associated with MRSA carriage and infection. The swabs were transported and enriched in a nutrient broth supplemented with NaCl. The presence of MRSA was then determined by culturing on MRSA Select chromogenic agar and then confirming by several assays, including catalase, coagulase and PBP2a agglutination tests. The isolates were assayed for antibiotic susceptibilities and typed by micro-array analysis to determine the clonal characteristics of each strain. The prevalence of MRSA nasal colonization in the healthy Maltese population was found to be 8.81% (95% confidence interval [CI], 5.75–11.87%), much higher than that found in other studies carried out in several countries. No statistical association was found between MRSA carriage and demographics or risk factors; however, this was hindered by the small sample size. Almost all the isolates were fusidic-acid resistant. The majority were found to belong to a local endemic clone (CC5) which seems to be replacing the previously prevalent European clone UK-EMRSA-15 in the country. A new clone (CC50-MRSA-V) was also characterized. The presence of such a significant community reservoir of MRSA increases the burdens already faced by the local healthcare system to control the MRSA epidemic. Colonization of MRSA in otherwise healthy individuals may represent a risk for endogenous infection and transmission to hospitalized patients after admission to a healthcare facility, leading to longer hospital stays and, consequently, increased healthcare costs.
Appears in Collections:Scholarly Works - FacM&SPat

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