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Nose May Be Best Place to Screen for MRSA Infection

FRIDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- A new study finds that people with high levels of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria in the nose are more likely to have other areas of the body colonized by MRSA, which can cause potentially fatal infections.

Researchers at Rhode Island Hospital wanted to assess the quantity of MRSA at different locations on the body and the relationship between the quantities of MRSA at different locations.

The investigators found that MRSA was more likely to be found in the nose than under the arms, the groin, or the perineum (skin between the rectum and genitals). They also found that people with high levels of MRSA in the nose were more likely to have MRSA in the other three locations.

"This study shows us that the quantities of MRSA at different body sites are highly correlated. Also, if screening cultures are to be done for MRSA, it is best to screen the nose and groin to get the highest yield," lead author Dr. Leonard Mermel, medical director of the epidemiology and infection control department, said in a hospital news release.

The study was released online Jan. 5 in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology.

"We hope that future studies will assess whether or not a greater number of body sites colonized with MRSA or a greater quantity of MRSA at those body sites impacts the likelihood of future MRSA infections," Mermel said.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about MRSA infections.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: Rhode Island Hospital, news release, Jan. 5, 2011

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