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Ann Emerg Med. 2008 Nov;52(5):525-8. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2008.03.019. Epub 2008 Apr 24.

A prevalence study of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization in emergency department health care workers.

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Advocate Christ Medical Center, Department of Emergency Medicine, Oak Lawn, IL.



Few studies of the prevalence of nasal colonization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in emergency department (ED) health care workers have been conducted. To better understand the epidemiology of this pathogen, we seek to determine the MRSA nasal colonization rates in the ED health care workers in our hospital.


We conducted a prospective cohort study on a convenience sample of ED health care workers, including nurses, physicians, and technicians. Nasal swabs from subjects were analyzed with a polymerase chain reaction assay for the presence of MRSA.


Of the 105 ED health care workers enrolled, a total of 16 (15%, 95% confidence interval 9.6% to 23%) were MRSA positive. No significant difference was observed in colonization rates between nurses, physicians, and technicians.


Our ED health care workers demonstrated a high prevalence of nasal MRSA colonization compared with individuals in recent community surveillance and other studies involving ED staff.

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