Sunday, December 19, 2010

Study Finds That High Percentage of Nursing Home Residents Carry MRSA Superbug

The University of Chicago Press Journal has reported that a recent study of 10 nursing homes found that a staggering 31% of residents tested were carrying Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, more commonly known as the MRSA superbug. 31% is a higher rate than the rate found in hospitals and intensive care units.

Most interestingly, the study found that of the 10 nursing home studied, that the rates of MRSA varied widely by nursing home. The highest level was 52% and the low was 7%. This wide range lends itself to the idea that some nursing homes are much more capable at keeping the rates of MRSA low than others.

MRSA is a very dangerous and deadly superbug that is resistant to antibiotics. MRSA is most commonly spread by skin-to-skin contact and is highly spreadable in nursing home settings. Nursing homes have a duty to utilize modern sterilization techniques and best practices in reducing the risk of infection. Elderly residents are particularly susceptible to MRSA infections and, due to their age, often have weakened immune systems that can not combat the deadly infection.

These MRSA infections often lead to MRSA-sepsis. As discussed in this earlier post on, Sepsis is a very serious medical condition in which a person's bloodstream is overwhelmed with an infection. If sepsis is not diagnosed quickly, the affected person can experience organ failure and die. Sepsis can only be treated if it is diagnosed quickly and appropriately. 

If you have any questions regarding this post or an issue involving Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect, please contact Illinois Nursing Home Attorney Mike Keating at 312-208-7702 or All initial consultations are confidential and free.

The above-referenced study is cited as follows:
Courtney Reynolds, Victor Quan, Diane Kim, Ellena Peterson, Julie Dunn, Matthew Whealon, Leah Terpstra, Hildy Meyers, Michele Cheung, Bruce Lee, and Susan S. Huang, "Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Carriage in 10 Nursing Homes in Orange County, California." Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology 32:1.