Antibiotics and biocidal cleaners may spread multidrug resistance in MRSA

September 22, 2017, American Society for Microbiology
MRSA
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Credit: NIH/NIAID

Antibiotic use on people or pets, and use of biocidal cleaning products such as bleach, are associated with multidrug resistance in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the home. This contamination of the home environment may contribute to reinfection of both humans and animals with MRSA, and to subsequent failure of treatment. The research is published September 22nd in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

Multidrug resistance to MRSA and reinfection with MRSA, said corresponding author Jonathan Shahbazian, MPH, were the most important in this study. The study also showed that whether used in humans or companion animals, the antibiotic clindamycin was not associated with the risk of multi-drug resistant bacteria in the home.

Treatment with mupirocin, an antibiotic used to treat skin infections and to eradicate MRSA from the nasal passages in order to prevent its spread from sneezes, is weakly associated with mupirocin resistance in the household environment. That "could complicate decolonization efforts that rely on use of nasal mupirocin ointment," said Mr. Shahbazian, who conducted the study while finishing his masters in public health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore. ("Decolonization" refers to treatment to eradicate potentially disease-causing bacteria from human carriers.)

Additionally, Mr. Shahbazian said that 100 percent of MRSA isolates the investigators obtained from rural homes were multidrug resistant, "suggesting living in a rural household may be a risk factor for ."

"We also found the presence of domestic pets was associated with multidrug resistant MRSA in the home environment, while the presence of unwanted pests, such as mice or cockroaches, was associated with non-multidrug resistant MRSA strains," said Mr. Shahbazian.

In the study, the investigators collected samples from the home environments and companion animals of households enrolled in a large randomized controlled trial, which took place over a 14 month period. They tested whether household-wide efforts to eradicate MRSA—which included daily use of nasal mupirocin ointment and chlorhexidine body wash—were successful in reducing recurrence of MRSA among adults and children who had previously been diagnosed with a MRSA skin or soft tissue infection. They repeated sampling in 65 homes three months after the residents had been treated for MRSA, or, as a control, after they had been educated about MRSA.

"Based on the evidence, we strongly suspect that environmental contamination of the home with MRSA contributes to recurrence," said Mr. Shahbazian. The investigators also suspect that household-wide selective pressures on the home environmental reservoir of MRSA promote persistence of multidrug resistant strains. "We hypothesize that infected or colonized people and shed MRSA into the home environment," which then re-infect household members.

The investigators concluded that a better understanding of what causes home environmental MRSA to become multidrug resistant, and thus harder to treat, could help in identifying which households are more likely to harbor multidrug resistant MRSA, so that these could be targeted for eradication of the pathogen.

The investigators are involved in One Health research. One Health examines health problems from a multidisciplinary perspective that includes physicians, veterinarians, environmental experts, and others.

Explore further: Common antimicrobials help patients recover from MRSA abscesses

Related Stories

Common antimicrobials help patients recover from MRSA abscesses

June 29, 2017
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria are resistant to multiple antibiotics and commonly cause skin infections that can lead to more serious or life-threatening infection in other parts of the body. ...

Encouraging signs for potential new antibiotic

February 16, 2017
A study published online today in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, reveals strong evidence that the first in a new class of antibiotic is as effective as an established antimicrobial agent in the fight against infections ...

Household MRSA controlled through treatment compliance, patient education

July 28, 2016
A new study found that following basic hygienic practices and complying with protocols for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) decolonization reduces the time to clearance of the bacteria more quickly than ...

Humans and companion animals harbor the same types of MRSA infections

May 13, 2014
A shared population of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria circulates both in humans and companion animals, according to a study published this week in mBio, the online open-access journal of the American ...

Recommended for you

Green leafy vegetables may prevent liver steatosis

December 17, 2018
A larger portion of green leafy vegetables in the diet may reduce the risk of developing liver steatosis, or fatty liver. In a study published in PNAS researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden show how a larger intake ...

Discovery of novel mechanisms that cause migraines

December 17, 2018
Researchers at CNRS, Université Côte d'Azur and Inserm have demonstrated a new mechanism related to the onset of migraine. They found how a mutation that causes dysfunction in a protein which inhibits neuronal electrical ...

RNA processing and antiviral immunity

December 14, 2018
The RIG-I like receptors (RLRs) are intracellular enzyme sentries that detect viral infection and initiate a first line of antiviral defense. The cellular molecules that activate RLRs in vivo are not clear.

Faster test for Ebola shows promising results in field trials

December 13, 2018
A team of researchers with members from the U.S., Senegal and Guinea, in cooperation with Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD), has developed a faster test for the Ebola virus than those currently in use. In their paper published ...

Drug targets for Ebola, Dengue, and Zika viruses found in lab study

December 13, 2018
No drugs are currently available to treat Ebola, Dengue, or Zika viruses, which infect millions of people every year and result in severe illness, birth defects, and even death. New research from the Gladstone Institutes ...

Urbanisation and air travel leading to growing risk of pandemic

December 13, 2018
Increased arrivals by air and urbanisation are the two main factors leading to a growing vulnerability to pandemics in our cities, a University of Sydney research team has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.