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J Infect Dev Ctries. 2014 Mar 13;8(3):372-8. doi: 10.3855/jidc.3589.

High incidence rate of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) among healthcare workers in Saudi Arabia.

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King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



Nosocomial infections are normally hospital acquired. Nasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is very common and may be transmitted via a hand-to-nose route. The objective of the present study was to screen healthcare workers for the colonization of their nasal cavities with MRSA.


The study group included hospital staff such as nurses, doctors, and technicians. The control group included university students. For isolation, nasal swabs were taken from the volunteers and cultured on mannitol salt agar media selective for S. aureus. Suspected colonies were confirmed by PCR using specific primers for the coagulase and mecA gene. Typing of the coagulase-positive strains was done using restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP).


The results indicated an incidence rate of 76% among healthcare workers. This is in comparison with students who served as control and were negative for MRSA. Using RFLP, four different types of MRSA were confirmed.


The results of this study are alarming. Effective control measures must be formulated and implemented to avoid indiscriminate use of antimicrobials and the spread of these infectious agents in the region.

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