Colonisation with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and associated factors among nurses with occupational skin diseases

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To evaluate the prevalence of colonisation with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), associated factors and the effectiveness of decolonisation procedures among nurses with occupational skin diseases (OSD).


In a retrospective cohort study, the medical records of 319 nurses from Germany who were screened consecutively for MRSA when participating in a tertiary individual prevention programme (TIP) for severe OSD between July 2009 and December 2014 were evaluated.


90.3% of nurses with severe OSD suffered from hand eczema. 43 were colonised with MRSA on admission (13.5%), mainly in the nose (n=35, 81.4%). However, the hands were affected in more than half of the MRSA carriers (n=24, 55.8%). Risk factors for MRSA colonisation were atopic skin diathesis (OR 2.01, 95% CI 1.03 to 3.92, p=0.049) and presence of atopic dermatitis on other body parts than the hands (OR 4.33, 95% CI 2.23 to 8.43, p<0.001). Hand eczema was significantly more severe in MRSA carriers than in non-carriers (OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.37, p<0.001) and showed a higher prevalence of vesicles, erosions or fissures. MRSA eradication was successful in 67.4% after the first attempt.


Nurses with OSD have a twofold to threefold higher prevalence of MRSA colonisation than what has been reported for point-prevalence screenings among healthcare workers in Germany. Atopic skin diathesis, atopic dermatitis and severe hand eczema are the main risk factors. Thus, prevention and treatment of OSD could be important elements in reduction of colonisation with MRSA among nurses and transmission to others.

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