We have assumed all along that it was the hospital. But a study released just this week says it’s the nursing home. The absolutely stunning bit is just how prevalent MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) was found to be in the homes: a little more than 1 in every 4 residents were colonized with it.
The research was conducted in 13 community-based nursing homes in Maryland and Michigan. The study found 28 percent of residents (113 out of 403) harbored MRSA.
Hospital MRSA rates are much lower. We don’t have an exact count for MRSA alone, but a 2013 study found that 1 in every 12 patients in hospitals across Canada were colonized or infected with one of three bugs: MRSA, which led the pack with 67% of the cases, followed by CD (Clostridium difficile), and VRE (Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci). Thus the MRSA number would be in the vicinity of 1 in 20 patients.
A close reading of the Canadian study reveals that the average age of the MRSA-afflicted patients was 70, thus lending support to the high nursing home numbers that were found.
MRSA is easily transmitted by touching: from person to person, or from person to some surface, say a bed rail or table or chair, to a second person. Thus the study raises real concerns for not just the nursing home residents, but for staff and visitors as well.