Modeling the effect of antibiotic exposure on the transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in hospitals with environmental contamination

Qimin Huang, Mary Ann Horn, Shigui Ruan


In this paper both deterministic and stochastic models are developed to explore the roles that antibiotic exposure and environmental contamination play in the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), in hospitals. Uncolonized patients without or with antibiotic exposure, colonized patients without or with antibiotic exposure, uncontaminated or contaminated healthcare workers, and free-living bacteria are included in the models. Under the assumption that there is no admission of the colonized patients, the basic reproduction number R 0 is calculated. It is shown that when R 0 < 1, the infection-free equilibrium is globally asymptotically stable; when R 0 > 1, the infection is uniformly persistent. Numerical simulations and sensitivity analysis show that environmental cleaning is a critical intervention, and hospitals should use antibiotics properly and as little as possible. The rapid and efficient treatment of colonized patients, especially those with antibiotic exposure, is key in controlling MRSA infections. Screening and isolating colonized patients at admission, and improving compliance with hand hygiene are also important control strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3641-3673
Number of pages33
JournalMathematical Biosciences and Engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Antibiotic exposure
  • Basic reproduction number
  • Deterministic and stochastic models
  • Environmental contamination
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
  • Persistence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics

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