Nursing homes 'unlikely' to completely eliminate MRSA, study finds

While long-term care providers can strive to reduce the prevalence of MRSA in their facilities, achieving complete elimination of the infections is unlikely, a new study suggests.

Investigators with the University of Wisconsin - Madison studied the levels and strains of MRSA in six Wisconsin nursing homes over the course of a year, and created simulated mathematical models from that data in an effort to understand the “dynamics and determinants” of MRSA spread in long-term care settings.

The research team also took facilities' use of antibiotics into consideration when creating the models.

The models predicted that MRSA would persist in nursing homes, and that total elimination was “theoretically possible” but unlikely to be achieved in under reasonable conditions.

“Based on our model, eradication of MRSA could be eventually achieved in nursing facilities if all MRSA-positive admissions were eliminated over a prolonged period of time (years),” the research team wrote.

Reductions in the prevalence of MRSA were achievable, researchers noted, by accelerating the rate of resident infection, reducing the number of residents admitted with MRSA, and implementing antibiotic stewardship programs.

Results of the study were published Thursday in Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control.