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GMS Krankenhhyg Interdiszip. 2012;7(1):Doc04. doi: 10.3205/dgkh000188. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

Low nasal carriage of drug-resistant bacteria among medical students in Vienna.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine I, Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, Vienna, Austria.



Multi-drug resistant bacteria are increasing and remain a major public health challenge worldwide. In order to understand the potential role of medical students as a reservoir for circulating pathogenic bacteria and their transmission, we analysed the nasal colonisation among 86 clinically exposed medical students of the Medical University of Vienna, which is integrated into General Hospital of Vienna.


Nasal swabs obtained from 79 students were eligible for further analysis. Nasal swabs were analysed for Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria with special emphasis on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.


25.3% of participants were positive for Staphylococcus aureus colonization; none of the isolates showed methicillin-resistance or expression of Pantoin-Valentine-leukocidin. However, 2.5% were positive for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis. No participant showed Streptococcus pneumoniae colonisation. Furthermore, 10.1% of the samples displayed growth of Gram-negative bacteria, yet none showed any relevant drug-resistance.


In conclusion, our investigation did not reveal any clinically relevant multi-drug resistant bacterial colonisation among clinically exposed medical students in Vienna. This might be explained by well-established hygienic precautions or comparably low circulation of resistant bacteria.


MRSA; MSSA; medical students; nasal colonization; resistant bacteria

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