Tea and Coffee Consumption Associated with Reduced MRSA Nasal Carriage

Eric M. Matheson, MD, MS, from Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, and colleagues, report in the latest issue of Annals of Family Medicine about an association between the consumption of hot tea or coffee and a decreased likelihood of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) nasal carriage, which studies have suggested may significantly increase the risk of systemic MRSA infection.

Analyzing nationally representative data from the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the researchers found that individuals who reported consuming hot tea were one-half as likely to have MRSA nasal carriage relative to individuals who drank no hot tea. Similarly, individuals who reported consuming coffee had about a one-half reduction in the risk of MRSA nasal carriage relative to individuals who drank no coffee.

Matheson, et al.  conclude these findings raise the possibility of a new method of decreasing MRSA nasal carriage and potentially MRSA infection that is safe, inexpensive and easily accessible. While the mechanism behind the possible effect of coffee and tea is not completely understood, they point to increasing evidence to suggest that both coffee and tea have antimicrobial characteristics.

Reference: Matheson EM. Tea and Coffee Consumption and MRSA Nasal Carriage.  Ann Fam Med. July/August 2011.