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To determine the prevalence and molecular epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains among residents in residential care homes for the elderly in Hong Kong.
Cross-sectional and descriptive study.
A total of 949 residents in 13 residential care homes for elderly persons in Hong Kong in January 2005.
MRSA colonization was assessed by culture of swab specimens from anterior nares and active skin lesions. Characteristics of residents were obtained by a standard questionnaire. All MRSA isolates were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction for their staphylococcal cassette chromosome (SCC) mec content and were typed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus sequencing.
MRSA colonization was detected in 27 residents (2.8%). No MRSA was found in 2 facilities. The rate of MRSA carriage in the other 11 facilities ranged from 1.9% to 4.2%. In univariate analysis, functional immobility (odds ratio [OR], 1.4), history of hospital admission (OR, 2.3), and the use of nebulized medication (OR, 5.4) were significantly associated with MRSA colonization. The isolates had 11 unique antibiograms, with 14 isolates susceptible to all but 1 or 2 of the non-β-lactam antimicrobial agents tested. The isolates exhibited SCCmec types I (1 isolate), II (2 isolates), III (1 isolate), IV/IVA (10 isolates), and V (13 isolates). No isolates had the Panton-Valentine leukocidin genes. PFGE analysis clustered all except 1 isolate into 7 PFGE types, designated HKU10 to HKU70. Between 1 and 4 unique PFGE types were found in the individual residential care facilities.
This study documented the emergence of SCCmec types IV and V among genetically diverse MRSA strains in residential care homes for elderly persons in Hong Kong.
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