Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that has developed resistance to numerous antibiotics such as methicillin, a commonly used antibiotic for the treatment of Staphylococcus infections. In the community, MRSA is widespread, and it is believed that 1% of the population is a carrier. People are potentially at a greater risk in areas where factors such as close skin-to-skin contact occur, cuts or abrasions in the skin occur, contaminated items and surfaces are present, or where overcrowded living conditions and poor hygiene are common. MRSA’s occurrence in people without risk factors who live in communities is also increasing, and some of these infections are not typically associated with staphylococci bacteria. MRSA carriage rates are important to monitor in populations where individuals are in close contact and have crowded living conditions, such as a dormitory. The goal of this research is to identify MRSA carriers in the dormitory and non-dormitory populations in order to quantify nasal carrier rates. Frequent athletic facility attendance was also monitored to determine if this is an additional risk factor. Nasal swabs samples were collected from volunteers over the age of eighteen. Background information was gathered from volunteers at the time of swabbing by means of an anonymous survey. Background information that was taken into account when analyzing data included: place of living (dormitory versus non-dormitory); if they ever lived in a dormitory and timeframe (how long and how long ago); if they had a MRSA infection previously (confirmed by a physician); how often they visited a gym facility; and their age. Our results demonstrate that approximately 10% of Winona State University student were caring MRSA intranasally. We found a strong correlation between carriage rates and dormitory status and gym usage. Similarly, dormitory populations who used a gym facility frequently were at an even higher risk of MRSA carriage. We believe these findings indicate an increase in carriage rate among WSU’s dormitory student population. These data indicate a need to increase WSU’s surveillance of MRSA carriage rates and infections.
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