Prevalence and Characterization of Staphylococcus Species, Including MRSA, in the Home Environment
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The purpose of this study is to assess the prevalence of Staphylococcus, including Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), in a home environment. Staphylococcal species are among the most common bacteria causing joint infections, and emerging methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains continue to remain a global problem. Staphylococci organisms commonly colonize the skin and nasal nares of healthy individuals, as well as livestock and other animals. There is a growing body of evidence that the environment (surfaces) plays an important role in the transmission of pathogens in the community. MRSA can be spread from contaminated inanimate objects known as fomites. Many hard surfaces serve as good reservoirs for MRSA, including door knobs and hand rails. In this study, we assessed the prevalence of MRSA and other staphylococcal species in 76 homes across the central Texas area. This study will evaluate various Staphylococcus species found on four different areas of a home using a point prevalence design to detect the prevalence of MRSA. A total of 304 swab samples from 76 different households were collected. Sources of collection included the inside front door handle, kitchen sink handle, most used remote control, and the refrigerator handle. One hundred and eighteen samples showed microbial growth (118/304, 38.8%), and 92 samples tested positive presumptively for S. aureus (92/304, 30.3%). Of those 92, four demonstrated oxacillin resistance and three were identified as MRSA (3/92, 3.4%) by displaying mauve colonies on CHROMagar. The findings of this study indicate potential exposure risks from Staphylococcus in everyday home environments, especially immunocompromised individuals.