Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Irvine

UC Irvine Previously Published Works bannerUC Irvine

Protective Effect of Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus Carriage against Methicillin-Resistant S. aureus Acquisition in Nursing Homes: A Prospective Cross-Sectional Study

Published Web Location


To evaluate whether an ecologic inverse association exists between methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) prevalence and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) prevalence in nursing homes.


We conducted a secondary analysis of a prospective cross-sectional study of S. aureus prevalence in 26 nursing homes across Orange County, California, from 2008-2011. Admission prevalence was assessed using bilateral nares swabs collected from all new residents within 3 days of admission until 100 swabs were obtained. Point prevalence was assessed from a representative sample of 100 residents. Swab samples were plated on 5% sheep blood agar and Spectra MRSA chromogenic agar. If MRSA was detected, no further tests were performed. If MRSA was not detected, blood agar was evaluated for MSSA growth. We evaluated the association between MRSA and MSSA admission and point prevalence using correlation and linear regression testing.


We collected 3,806 total swabs. MRSA and MSSA admission prevalence were not correlated (r = -0.40, P = .09). However, MRSA and MSSA point prevalence were negatively correlated regardless of whether MSSA prevalence was measured among all residents sampled (r = -0.67, P = .0002) or among those who did not harbor MRSA (r = -0.41, P = .04). This effect persisted in regression models adjusted for the percentage of residents with diabetes (β = -0.73, P = .04), skin lesions (β = -1.17, P = .002), or invasive devices (β = -1.4, P = .0006).


The inverse association between MRSA and MSSA point prevalence and minimal association on admission prevalence suggest MSSA carriage may protect against MRSA acquisition in nursing homes. The minimal association on admission prevalence further suggests competition may occur during nursing home stays.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View