Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Popovich: Colonization with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) at body sites outside the nares was common, with more than half of all colonized individuals having MRSA colonization in the rectal or groin areas. Resistance to mupirocin was uncommon and molecular testing showed no signs of resistance to chlorhexidine gluconate.
Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr Popovich: We observed that MRSA colonization in the inguinal and peri-rectal area was more frequent among males—both heterosexual and men who have sex with men—than in females.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr Popovich: Colonization with MRSA can occur at non-nasal sites, in particular in the inguinal and peri-rectal areas. While it is reassuring that resistance to mupirocin and chlorhexidine gluconate was uncommon, continued monitoring is still warranted.
Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Popovich: Finding extra-nasal MRSA supports emphasis on more broadly-based, sometimes called horizontal, infection control strategies, i.e., those interventions, like daily chlorhexidine bathing of ICU patients, that target more than a single pathogen.
Kyle J. Popovich, Alla Aroutcheva, Bala Hota, Kathleen G. Beavis, Mary K. Hayden, Robert A. Weinstein. Anatomic Sites of Colonization with Community-Associated Methicillin-ResistantStaphylococcus aureus. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, 2014; 35 (9): 1192 DOI: 10.1086/677627