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Transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in long-term care facilities and their related healthcare networks.

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Harrison, Ewan M 
Brodrick, Hayley J 
Blane, Beth 
Brennan, Gráinne 


BACKGROUND: Long-term care facilities (LTCF) are potential reservoirs for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), control of which may reduce MRSA transmission and infection elsewhere in the healthcare system. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) has been used successfully to understand MRSA epidemiology and transmission in hospitals and has the potential to identify transmission between these and LTCF. METHODS: Two prospective observational studies of MRSA carriage were conducted in LTCF in England and Ireland. MRSA isolates were whole-genome sequenced and analyzed using established methods. Genomic data were available for MRSA isolated in the local healthcare systems (isolates submitted by hospitals and general practitioners). RESULTS: We sequenced a total of 181 MRSA isolates from the two study sites. The majority of MRSA were multilocus sequence type (ST)22. WGS identified one likely transmission event between residents in the English LTCF and three putative transmission events in the Irish LTCF. WGS also identified closely related isolates present in colonized Irish residents and their immediate environment. Based on phylogenetic reconstruction, closely related MRSA clades were identified between the LTCF and their healthcare referral network, together with putative MRSA acquisition by LTCF residents during hospital admission. CONCLUSIONS: These data confirm that MRSA is transmitted between residents of LTCF and is both acquired and transmitted to others in referral hospitals and beyond. Our data present compelling evidence for the importance of environmental contamination in MRSA transmission, reinforcing the importance of environmental cleaning. The use of WGS in this study highlights the need to consider infection control in hospitals and community healthcare facilities as a continuum.



Long-term care facilities, MRSA, Molecular epidemiology, Nursing home, Staphylococcus aureus, Transmission, Whole-genome sequencing, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Cross Infection, DNA, Bacterial, Female, Health Facility Environment, High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing, Humans, Infection Control, Long-Term Care, Male, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Middle Aged, Multilocus Sequence Typing, Prospective Studies, Staphylococcal Infections, United Kingdom

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Genome Med

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Medical Research Council (G1000803)
Medical Research Council (G1001787)
Academy of Medical Sciences (unknown)
Medical Research Council (MR/N029399/1)
Wellcome Trust (098600/Z/12/Z)
Medical Research Council (G1000803/1)
Medical Research Council (G1001787/1)
UKCRC Translational Infection Research (TIR) Initiative, Medical Research Council (Grant ID: G1000803), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, National Institute for Health Research, Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health Directorate, Hospital Infection Society (Major Research Grant), Wellcome Trust (Grant ID: 098051), Academy of Medical Sciences, Health Foundation, National Institute for Health Research Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre