Transmission of Staphylococcus aureus between health-care workers, the environment, and patients in an intensive care unit

Price, J.R. et al. (2017) The Lancet Infectious Diseases. 17(2) pp. 207–214

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Background: Health-care workers have been implicated in nosocomial outbreaks of Staphylococcus aureus, but the dearth of evidence from non-outbreak situations means that routine health-care worker screening and S aureus eradication are controversial. We aimed to determine how often S aureus is transmitted from health-care workers or the environment to patients in an intensive care unit (ICU) and a high-dependency unit (HDU) where standard infection control measures were in place.

Interpretation: In the presence of standard infection control measures, health-care workers were infrequently sources of transmission to patients. S aureus epidemiology in the ICU and HDU is characterised by continuous ingress of distinct subtypes rather than transmission of genetically related strains.

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