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Research Article

Vol. 5 No. 2 (1999)

Screening of Burns Unit Staff of a Tertiary Care Hospital for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus Colonisation

  • Preetha Aravind, M.B.B.S.
  • Prabha Unny Krishnan, M.D., D.N.B., DipRCPath
  • Hiresave Srinivasa, M.D.
  • Vijay Joseph, M.S., M.C.H.
November 8, 2020


Staphylococcus aureus is a significant nosocomial pathogen and the development of resistance to methicillin poses a major threat to its control. This study was conducted over a three month period in a Burns Unit of a tertiary care hospital to determine the prevalance of methicillin- resistant S. aureus (MRSA) colonisation in health care workers. All health care workers were screened using swabs from the hairline, nostril, axilla, and hands. Seventeen of 34 health care workers screened were MRSA-positive; 16 people tested positive for the methicillin-sensitive strain of S. aureus, 7 of whom were also MRSA-positive at a different site. In total, over two thirds of all health care workers were colonised by S. aureus. Pus samples from patients admitted in the same unit over the three month study period were analysed and showed that 21% of patients were infected or colonised with MRSA. Although a direct causal relationship is not established by these data, it is reasonable to assume that transmission from colonised health care workers is responsible, at least in part, for the extent of infection/colonisation among patients. These findings identify the need for a well defined policy for screening health care workers and controlling the rates of colonisation with potentially dangerous pathogens given the risk of transmission to susceptible patients.


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