A prevalence screen of MRSA nasal colonisation amongst UK doctors in a non-clinical environment

R R W Brady, C McDermott, C Graham, E M Harrison, G Eunson, A P Fraise, M G Dunlop, A P Gibb

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Screening for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carriage in healthcare workers (HCWs) is both contentious and confounded by a lack of knowledge of background prevalence rates. This study examines prevalence of nasal MRSA carriage amongst a spectrum of medical professionals in a non-clinical environment. Medical conference attendees volunteered for screening for nasal MRSA carriage, and anonymised demographic data and attitudes towards screening were recorded. Two hundred sixty volunteers participated. One hundred seventy-three participants (67%) were from the British Medical Association's Annual Representatives Meeting, and 87 participants (33%) were attending the Association of Surgeons in Training conference. Six (2%) participants were positive for MRSA nasal carriage (BMA = 1%, ASIT = 5%; p = 0.099). Participants from a surgical specialty (4.8%) were more likely to be MRSA positive (p = 0.039). All positive samples came from male participants (p = 0.182). However, there was no significant association with gender, seniority or country of employment and MRSA status. Routine screening for MRSA was supported by 63% of participants in HCWs; 36% had previously undergone such screening. MRSA nasal carriage rates within this cross-sectional study are lower than studies reporting carriage rates in HCWs within the clinical environment. Further research is required to examine the relationship between MRSA nasal colonisation status of a HCW and subsequent MRSA infection in patients.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)991-5
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2009


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