Q-247. Occurrence of Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Fire Stations

J. D. Sexton, K. A. Reynolds;
Univ. of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

Staphylococcus aureus is commonly found on the skin and in the nose of healthy individuals. S. aureus may cause infections with symptoms ranging from pimples, boils and other skin conditions to life-threatening pneumonias and blood stream infections. Some strains have developed resistance to many commonly administered antibiotics, including methicillin. These strains are known as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). MRSA is one of the leading causes of infections in patients in hospitals, and long-term care facilities, as well as in prisons and the homeless population. Infections of aggressive MRSA are becoming more prevalent among fire and emergency service workers. These workers are at a higher risk of exposure due to the communal lifestyles of fire stations and that they are in frequent contact with high risk populations. The current study was undertaken to determine the occurrence and frequency of MRSA in fire stations, along with bacterial counts and the presence of fecal and total coliforms. Samples were collected using Spongesicles and then biochemical tests were performed to identify S. aureus isolates from a variety of sites at three fire stations. MRSA were further isolated by growth on media containing methicillin-derived antibiotics. MRSA was isolated from the office, couch, remotes, table, kitchen and the classroom. Of the S. aureus isolated 64% was MRSA. MRSA is present and has a high exposure potential in fire stations. With better cleaning techniques and procedures for surfaces this exposure could be reduced.