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Clin Infect Dis. 2001 May 15;32(10):1393-8. Epub 2001 Apr 20.

Duration of colonization by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus after hospital discharge and risk factors for prolonged carriage.

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  • 1Bacteriology Laboratory, Bichat-Claude Bernard Hospital, Paris, France.


To investigate persistent carriage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), we conducted a prospective 10-month study of MRSA carriage in previous carriers who were readmitted to our hospital. Four screening specimens, 2 from the skin and 2 from the nares, were obtained within 3 days after admission, in addition to diagnostic specimens requested by physicians. Of the 78 patients included in our study, 31 (40%) were persistent carriers of MRSA, with an estimated median time of 8.5 months to MRSA clearance. In the multivariate analysis, the only factor significantly associated with persistent carriage was the presence of a break in the skin at readmission (odds ratio, 4.34; P=.004); however, a trend was found for admission from a chronic-care institution (odds ratio, 3.65; P=.06). Our data confirm that prolonged carriage of MRSA can occur after hospital discharge, support routine screening for MRSA at readmission of previously MRSA-positive patients, and suggest that a particularly high index of suspicion for MRSA carriage should be maintained if these patients have a break in the skin.

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