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Ethiop Med J. 2013 Jan;51(1):41-7.

Nasal and hand carriage rate of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) among health care workers in Mekelle Hospital, North Ethiopia.

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Department of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, School of Medicine , Mekelle Univesity.



Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is significant major pathogen responsible for hospital and community based infections.


The aim of this study was to assess the nasal and hand carriage of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus in health care workers of Mekelle Hospital


The study was carried out during November 2010 to January 2011. Swab samples from both anterior nares and hands were taken. The samples were cultured on mannitol salt agar and incubated aerobically at 37 degrees C for 48 hours. Staphylococcus aureus was identified as nmannitol fermenter and coagulase test positive. Antimicrobial susceptibility test for MRSA was done by disk diffusion method using oxacillin disks. Data were analysed using SPSS version 16 software.


Out of the 177 health care workers screened, 36 (20.3%) of them were methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus carriers in their hand and anterior nares. More females, 25(14.1%) were colonized by methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus than males 11 (6.2%) (P = 0.044). Nasal carriage of MRSA of 25 (14.1%) was higher than hand carriage 11 (6.2%) (p < 0.05). Nurses and medical doctors had methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus carriage rates of 26 (13.6%) and 4 (2.3%), respectively. The isolated MRSA were resistant to multiple antibiotics. The highest resistance was observed for ampicillin (88.9%) and tetracycline (86.1%). Two (5.6%) of the nasal isolates were vancomycin resistant.


Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus carriage among health care workers in this study was high. The carriage rate was higher among nurses and doctors. The MRSA isolates were multi drug resistant to other antibiotics. So, the result of this study emphasizes the need of regular surveillance of health care workers. It also calls a need for an effective infection prevention and control program.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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