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Epidemiol Infect. 2004 Dec;132(6):1091-7.

The prevalence and source of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the community in Hong Kong.

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Biomedical Science Section, School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong.


Although reports of isolation of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from patients admitted from the community have increased, few studies have investigated colonization of healthy subjects. This study aimed to determine community levels of MRSA in Hong Kong. Nasal swabs from a cross section of young adults and family units were cultured for MRSA. Antibiotic sensitivities and risk factors for carriage were determined and clonal relationships were investigated by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Overall carriage was low (1.4%), and associated with health-care exposures (OR 13.56, 95% CI 1.11-165.21). Subjects working in health care yielded multi-resistant MRSA strains, but isolates from non-hospital-exposed subjects were methicillin-resistant only. Strains indistinguishable by PFGE were carried by subjects working together, and some spread to other contacts was observed. MRSA colonization in the community is rare in Hong Kong and is largely associated with working in health care. Community-acquired staphylococcal infections may be treated with agents effective against methicillin-sensitive strains.

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