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1 in 4 Nursing Home Residents Carries MRSA

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major problem in nursing homes with one in four residents carrying the bacteria, a study by Queen’s University Belfast and AntrimAreaHospital has found.

Its authors say that the findings, which have been published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, highlight the need for infection control strategies to be given a higher priority in nursing homes.

The study, thought to be the largest of its kind studying MRSA in private nursing homes in the UK, took nose swabs from 1,111 residents and 553 staff in 45 nursing homes in the former Northern Board area of Northern Ireland.

Twenty-four percent of residents and 7 percent of staff were found to be colonized with MRSA, meaning they were carrying the bacteria but not necessarily showing signs of infection or illness. Residents in 42 of the homes were colonized with MRSA, with recorded rates in individual nursing homes ranging from zero to 73 percent. Staff in 28 of the homes carried the bacteria with prevalence rates ranging from zero to 28 percent.

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