Modeling the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in nursing homes for elderly

Farida Chamchod, Shigui Ruan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is endemic in many hospital settings, including nursing homes. It is an important nosocomial pathogen that causes mortality and an economic burden to patients, hospitals, and the community. The epidemiology of the bacteria in nursing homes is both hospital- and community-like. Transmission occurs via hands of health care workers (HCWs) and direct contacts among residents during social activities. In this work, mathematical modeling in both deterministic and stochastic frameworks is used to study dissemination of MRSA among residents and HCWs, persistence and prevalence of MRSA in a population, and possible means of controlling the spread of this pathogen in nursing homes. The model predicts that: (i) without strict screening and decolonization of colonized individuals at admission, MRSA may persist; (ii) decolonization of colonized residents, improving hand hygiene in both residents and HCWs, reducing the duration of contamination of HCWs, and decreasing the resident:staff ratio are possible control strategies; (iii) the mean time that a resident remains susceptible since admission may be prolonged by screening and decolonization treatment in colonized individuals; (iv) in the stochastic framework, the total number of colonized residents varies and may increase when the admission of colonized residents, the duration of colonization, the average number of contacts among residents, or the average number of contacts that each resident requires from HCWs increases; (v) an introduction of a colonized individual into an MRSA-free nursing home has a much higher probability of leading to a major outbreak taking off than an introduction of a contaminated HCW.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere29757
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 6 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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