4 years ago

The epidemiology and transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the community in Singapore: study protocol for a longitudinal household study

Paola Florez De Sessions, Li Yang Hsu, Angela Li Ping Chow, Clarence C. Tam, Paul A. Tambyah, Jolene Oon, Balamurugan Periaswamy, Nivedita Shankar, Desmond B. Teo, Junxiong Pang, Brenda Ang



Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the most common multidrug-resistant organisms in healthcare settings worldwide, but little is known about MRSA transmission outside of acute healthcare settings especially in Asia. We describe the methods for a prospective longitudinal study of MRSA prevalence and transmission.


MRSA-colonized individuals were identified from MRSA admission screening at two tertiary hospitals and recruited together with their household contacts. Participants submitted self-collected nasal, axilla and groin (NAG) swabs by mail for MRSA culture at baseline and monthly thereafter for 6 months. A comparison group of households of MRSA-negative patients provided swab samples at one time point. In a validation sub-study, separate swabs from each site were collected from randomly selected individuals, to compare MRSA detection rates between swab sites, and between samples collected by participants versus those collected by trained research staff. Information on each participant’s demographic information, medical status and medical history, past healthcare facilities usage and contacts, and personal interactions with others were collected using a self-administered questionnaire.


Understanding the dynamics of MRSA persistence and transmission in the community is crucial to devising and evaluating successful MRSA control strategies. Close contact with MRSA colonized patients may to be important for MRSA persistence in the community; evidence from this study on the extent of community MRSA could inform the development of household- or community-based interventions to reduce MRSA colonization of close contacts and subsequent re-introduction of MRSA into healthcare settings. Analysis of longitudinal data using whole-genome sequencing will yield further information regarding MRSA transmission within households, with significant implications for MRSA infection control outside acute hospital settings.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/s12879-017-2793-y

DOI: 10.1186/s12879-017-2793-y

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