Duration of Colonization With Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus: A Question With Many Answers
Clin Infect Dis. (2015) 60 (10): 1497-1499
Michael S. Calderwood
Emergency room visits and hospital admissions for skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) have been increasing [1, 2], with a high prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) cultured from the site of infection . By recent estimates, approximately 7% of patients in US hospitals are colonized with MRSA . This includes an increase in colonization with community-acquired strains commonly associated with SSTIs [5, 6].
According to the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America, the duration of colonization remains an unresolved issue . Data have shown that individuals remain at increased risk of MRSA infection and death until they are no longer colonized . However, there is a wide range of estimates for the median time to clearance, ranging from 7 to 9 months [9–11] to well beyond a year [12–14]. Thus, many US hospitals recommend waiting 6 months or more prior to screening for clearance of MRSA colonization .
In this issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, the study by Cluzet et al adds to the debate on the duration of MRSA colonization, looking at clearance following diagnosis of an SSTI with a positive MRSA culture . In this longitudinal sampling study, MRSA surveillance cultures were collected from nares, axilla, and groin every 2 weeks for up to 6 months on both index cases and their household members. The first finding of interest was a median duration of MRSA …