MRSA Found in High Numbers of Nursing Home Residents

A new study underscores the need for tighter infection control practices in nursing homes. Queens University Belfast and Antrim Area Hospital researchers conducted a study, finding that one in four nursing home residents in the UK are colonized with MRSA, but do not show signs of having infection. The results show that high rates of MRSA found among residents of nursing homes should take priority among infection control specialists.

The study looked at MRSA rates among 1,111 residents and 553 staff in 45 nursing homes in Northern Ireland. The study is the largest to date measuring the incidence of MRSA in UK nursing homes.

We decided to carry out the study after noticing an apparent increase in recent years in the number of patients who had MRSA when they were admitted to hospital from nursing homes, says Dr Paddy Kearney, Consultant Medical Microbiologist with the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

Nursing home staff was found to be colonized with MRSA in twenty-eight of facilities. Rates ranged from zero to twenty-eight percent. Overall, twenty-four percent of nursing home residents, and seven percent of staff carried MRSA.

Hospitals screen for MRSA, and have policies in place for infection control. According to the study authors, MRSA control is “not always feasible in private nursing homes.”

The study shows a need for infection control policies in Nursing homes to prevent and remove MRSA colonization among residents. Skin creams, and bacterial washes can eradicate MRSA. The study revealed that one in four UK nursing home residents carry MRSA, identified by nasal swabs.

Queen’s University Belfast