Background. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) remains sensitive to vancomycin; when vancomycin-resistant S. aureus (VRSA) emerges, treatment becomes more complex. VRSA emergence is attributed to conjugative transfer of the vancomycin-resistance gene cluster from vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) to MRSA. Because cocolonization with MRSA and VRE precedes VRSA development, this study investigates the epidemiology of cocolonization in skilled nursing facility (SNF) residents at high risk for MRSA or VRE colonization.
Methods. A prospective observational study conducted at 15 SNFs in southeast Michigan. Overall, 178 residents (90 with indwelling urinary catheters and/or feeding tubes and 88 device-free) were cultured monthly for MRSA and VRE, and clinical data were recorded.
Results. The incidence of MRSA/VRE cocolonization among residents with indwelling devices was 6.5 per 100 resident-months; 5.2 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.49–18.1) times that among those without devices. MRSA/VRE cocolonization in the device group occurred most frequently in wounds (4.1 per 100 resident-months). In a logistic regression analysis limited to residents with devices, functional disability (rate ratio [RR], 1.3; 95% CI: 1.1–1.4) and wound presence (RR, 3.4; 95% CI: 1.4–8.6) were independent risk factors of cocolonization.
Conclusions. In a population of SNF residents, individuals with indwelling devices who also had functional disability or wounds were at greatest risk of MRSA/VRE cocolonization. These individuals should be routinely monitored for the presence of VRSA colonization.