Scientific article

Epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: results of a nation-wide survey in Switzerland

Published inSchweizerische medizinische Wochenschrift, vol. 132, no. 17-18, p. 223-229
Publication date2002

OBJECTIVE: To assess the epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Switzerland. MATERIAL AND METHODS: One-year national survey of all MRSA cases detected in a large sample of Swiss healthcare institutions (HCI). Analysis of epidemiological and molecular typing data (PFGE) of MRSA strains. RESULTS: During 1997, 385 cases of MRSA were recorded in the 5 university hospitals, in 33 acute care community hospitals, and 14 rehabilitation or long-term care institutions. Half of the cases were found at the University of Geneva Hospitals where MRSA was already known to be endemic (41.1 cases/10,000 admissions). The remaining cases (200) were distributed throughout Switzerland. The highest rates (>100 cases/10,000 admissions) were reported from non-acute care institutions. Rates ranged from 3.3 to 41.1 cases/10,000 admissions for university hospitals (mean 15.5); 0.67 to 90.4 for community hospitals (mean 4.8), and 28.2 to 315 for non-acute care institutions reporting MRSA (mean 85.7). Forty percent of MRSA patients were infected, while 60% were only colonised. The leading infection sites were skin and soft tissue (21%), surgical site (15%), and the urinary tract (26%). Whereas in Eastern Swiss HCI most MRSA cases occurred in acute care hospitals (n = 47, 98%), rehabilitation and long-term care institutions accounted for an important number of the identified cases (n = 107, 38%) in Western Switzerland. CONCLUSION: Low rates of MRSA were still observed in Swiss HCI, despite one outlying acute care centre with endemic MRSA and some nonacute care institutions with epidemic MRSA. Rehabilitation and long-term care institutions contributed to a substantial proportion of cases in Western Switzerland and may constitute a significant reservoir. Overall, a national approach to surveillance and control of MRSA is mandatory in order to preserve a still favourable situation, and to decrease the risk of epidemic MRSA dissemination.

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Methicillin Resistance
  • Middle Aged
  • Staphylococcal Infections/diagnosis/ epidemiology/prevention & control
  • Staphylococcus aureus/ isolation & purification
  • Switzerland/epidemiology
Citation (ISO format)
BLANC, Dominique et al. Epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus: results of a nation-wide survey in Switzerland. In: Schweizerische medizinische Wochenschrift, 2002, vol. 132, n° 17-18, p. 223–229.
Updates (1)
ISSN of the journal0036-7672

Technical informations

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