Prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant S aureus on environmental surfaces in Ohio nursing homes


      • Staphylococcus aureus contamination in nursing homes was found in approximately a quarter of samples tested.
      • The prevalence of S aureus and methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA) was higher in nursing homes in urban areas. No MRSA was found in nursing homes in rural locations.
      • The most common molecular types were those associated with healthcare (t002) and the community (t008).


      Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is common in medical institutions. We sought to examine the prevalence of S aureus on environmental surfaces in nursing homes and to obtain molecular information on contaminating strains.


      A total of 259 environmental samples were collected from 7 different nursing homes in Northeast Ohio (NEO), from suburban, urban, and rural settings. The presence of the mecA and PVL genes was determined, and spa typing was performed in order to identify molecular types.


      The prevalence of S aureus was 28.6% (74/259). The prevalence of MRSA and methicillin-susceptible S aureus was 20.1% (52/259) and 8.5% (22/259), respectively. S aureus contamination in suburban, urban, and rural sites was 25.7% (38/148), 45.9% (34/74), and 5.4% (2/37), respectively. MRSA was detected in 16.9% (25/148) of suburban samples and 36.5% (27/74) of urban samples. No MRSA was found in rural samples. Nursing homes from urban areas had a significantly higher (P < .001) prevalence of S aureus compared to nursing homes from suburban and rural sites. Areas with high nurse touch rates were the most commonly contaminated.


      We found differences in the prevalence of S aureus and MRSA in nursing homes in different regions of NEO. Part of these differences may result from transfers from hospitals; the urban nursing homes had 4 to 15 hospitals nearby, whereas suburban and rural locations had 1 to 3 hospitals within the area.

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