Prevalence ofStaphylococcus aureusfrom nares and hands on health care professionals in a Portuguese Hospital

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The main goal was to estimate the prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus on hands and in nose of health care professionals.

Methods and Results:

Detection of Staph. aureus on hands or in the nose of 169 individuals was performed. Nasal and hand carriage was found in 39·6 and in 8·9% respectively. About 17·2% of the individuals were carriers of methicillin-resistant Staph. aureus (MRSA) in the nose and 4·7% on hands. The majority of nasal MRSA were resistant to β-lactams, erythromycin and ciprofloxacin. All nasal MRSA were SCCmec type IV and Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) negative. One MRSA isolated from hand was SCCmec type V. About 75·6% of MRSA isolates presented the same or closely related restriction patterns. Sixty per cent of Staph. aureus from hands and from noses from the same individual were the same strain.


MRSA nasal carriage was high considering healthy health care professionals but in accordance with high level of MRSA infection in Portugal. Isolates recovered in this study seemed to be different from major clones previously isolated in other Portuguese hospitals.

Significance and Impact of the Study:

These findings may have implications on the knowledge of healthy health care workers as vehicles of MRSA infections among the community. Presence of several virulence factors may contribute to increased pathogenesis in case of infection.

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