Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Infectious Diseases and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus prevalence: Current susceptibility patterns in Trinidad

Fitzroy A Orrett1* and Michael Land2

Author Affiliations

1 The Department of Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, Eric Williams Medical Sciences, Complex Champs Fleurs, Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies

2 Department of Biological, Sciences, Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, LA 71497, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Infectious Diseases 2006, 6:83  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-83

Published: 5 May 2006



Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has become one of the most widespread causes of nosocomial infections worldwide. Recently, reports have emerged that S. aureus strains recovered from community-acquired infections are also methicillin-resistant. This study was undertaken to analyze the prevalence of methicillin resistance among isolates at a regional hospital in Trinidad, and document the current resistance profile of MRSA and methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) to the commonly used anti-staphylococcal agents.


Over a 6-year period we analyzed 2430 isolates of S. aureus strains recovered from various clinical sources, from hospital and community practices. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing was done according to guideline recommendations of the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards.


The prevalence of MRSA from surgical/burn wounds, urine and pus/abscess were 60.1%, 15.5% and 6.6%, respectively. The major sources of MSSA were surgical/burn wounds, pus/abscess and upper respiratory tract specimens with rates of 32.9%, 17.1% and 14.3%, respectively. The greatest prevalence of resistance of MRSA was seen for erythromycin (86.7%), and clindamycin (75.3%). Resistance rates among MSSA were highest for ampicillin (70%). Resistance rates for tetracycline were similar among both MRSA (78.7%) and MSSA (73.5%). The MRSA recovery rates from nosocomial sources (20.8%) was significantly higher than that of previous years (12.5%) (p < 0.001), whereas rates among community isolates were relatively similar for the same period (4.1% versus 8.1%).


The prevalence of MRSA in the hospital increased from 12.5% in 1999 to 20.8% in 2004. Most isolates were associated with infected surgical/burn wounds which may have become infected via the hands of HCPs during dressing exercises. Infection control measures aimed at the proper hand hygiene procedures may interrupt the spread of MRSA. HCPs may also be carriers of MRSA in their anterior nares. Surveillance cultures of both patients and HCPs may help to identify carriers who would be offered antibiotics to eradicate the organisms. Most MRSA are resistant to several non-β-lactam antibiotics. Frequent monitoring of susceptibility patterns of MRSA and the formulation of a definite antibiotic policy maybe helpful in decreasing the incidence of MRSA infection.