The prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus among out-of-hospital care providers and emergency medical technician students

Charles Miramonti, James A. Rinkle, Samuel Iden, Jutieh Lincoln, Gretchen Huffman, Elizabeth Riddell, Mary Ann Kozak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Objective. We compared the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carrier rate among out-of-hospital care providers with greater than six months' experience in emergency medical services (EMS) care with that of emergency medical technician (EMT) students with two months or less of observation time as part of their clinical training. Methods. We conducted a prospective study utilizing a convenience sample of out-of-hospital care providers and EMT students in an urban EMS system operating in the Midwest during October and November 2006. One hundred thirty-four out-of-hospital care providers and 152 EMT students were tested for MRSA susceptibility using the cefoxitin disk diffusion method. Results. Contrary to our hypothesis, we did not find a statistically significant difference in MRSA nasal colonization between out-of-hospital care providers (4.5%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0, 8.0) and EMT students (5.3%; 95% CI 1.7, 8.8). A subgroup analysis showed that among out-of-hospital care providers, paramedics had a higher rate of nasal colonization than EMTs (5.6% vs. 2.2%). Conclusion. We found that out-of-hospital care providers and EMT students had higher nasal colonization rates than the reported rate for the U.S. population (0.084% at the time the study was conducted and 1.5% currently). It is imperative that both groups adhere to infection control practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-77
Number of pages5
JournalPrehospital Emergency Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012



  • colonization
  • EMS
  • EMT students
  • MRSA
  • prehospital care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Emergency

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