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This article is part of the supplement: International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control (ICPIC 2011)

Open Access Poster presentation

Prevalence and acquisition rate of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in internal medicine wards at the University Hospital of Geneva (HUG)

T Koessler1*, J Pasricha2, V Camus2, G Renzi3, S Harbarth2, J Schrenzel3, A Perrier1, D Pittet2 and A Iten1

  • * Corresponding author: T Koessler

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

2 Department of Infection Control, Geneva, Switzerland

3 Central Laboratory of Bacteriology, University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

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BMC Proceedings 2011, 5(Suppl 6):P7  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-5-S6-P7

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:29 June 2011

© 2011 Koessler et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Introduction / objectives

We aimed to determine the prevalence and acquisition rate of MRSA among patients admitted to internal medicine ward at HUG.


Patients consecutively admitted to 13 medical wards from March-June 2010 were screened for MRSA using pooled axilla and groin swabs within 48 h of admission and 36 h of discharge.


Among 1967 patients, swabs were collected in 1740 (88%) at admission and 712 (36%) at discharge; with 687 (35%) having both. Mean age was 64 years; 58% were male. 4.8% (84/1740) of patients were MRSA positive on admission, of which 79% -for whom data were available (43/54)- had been MRSA positive on screening in the previous 6 months. Of patients who were not MRSA positive at admission, 5.8% (29/496) had previous carriage. MRSA carriage at admission was associated with age (p=0.0016, Wilcoxon rank sum test) and a positive MRSA swab in the previous 6 months (χ2 233, p<0.0001). 3.8% (27/710) of patients acquired MRSA during hospital stay - having a positive MRSA swab on discharge but not on admission. By Wilcoxon rank sum test, MRSA acquisition was associated with length of hospital stay (p=0.0009) and age (p=0.0087). No association was found between MRSA carriage or acquisition and sex, provenance, antibiotic use, requirement of intensive or high dependency care and type of medical ward.


4.8% of patients admitted to general medical wards at our hospital were MRSA positive, the majority of these patients had previous MRSA carriage. 3.8% of patients acquired MRSA during hospital stay.

Disclosure of interest

None declared.