Estimated Roles of the Carrier and the Bacterial Strain When Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Decolonization Fails: a Case-Control Study

2 Citations (Scopus)


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a common bacterial pathogen that frequently colonizes healthy individuals, with potential to cause invasive infection. In Denmark, to keep the prevalence low, MRSA carriers are recommended to undergo decolonization treatments, but achieving decolonization is challenging. Knowledge about the factors contributing to decolonization is scarce. We aimed to identify bacterial genome and clinical factors influencing MRSA decolonization. We identified all new MRSA patients above 2 years of age within the Hvidovre catchment area, Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2017 and 2018. Carriers were defined as chronic carriers (cases) if they were MRSA positive after two or more treatments and as nonchronic carriers (controls) if they were MRSA free after the first or second treatment. Using whole-genome sequencing (WGS), we constructed a pangenome of bacterial strains. With the incorporation of bacterial genome and clinical patient data, machine learning and multivariate analyses were performed to determine the factors associated with decolonization. A total of 477 MRSA carriers were included. An age of ≥13 years was significantly associated with nonchronic carriage. We identified 278 bacterial genetic features that were statistically significantly associated with chronic carriage (P < 0.05 by Fisher's exact test). Chronic MRSA carriage was predicted with 68% accuracy using a combination of bacterial genome data and patient clinical data. Decolonization success is multifactorial. Apart from the 68% predicted accuracy found in this study, we estimate that the remaining 32% is a result of host factors and microbiome composition. IMPORTANCE Carriage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other multiresistant bacteria is a prerequisite for infection and transmission. Successful decolonization treatment removes these risks. We aimed to identify bacterial genome and host clinical factors that influence MRSA decolonization to estimate the roles of the carrier and the bacterial strain, respectively, when decolonization fails. The long-term goal, beyond this study, is to optimize decolonization success, minimize MRSA transmission, and, ultimately, improve the quality of life of MRSA carriers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0129622
JournalMicrobiology spectrum
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2022


  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use
  • Carrier State/epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Humans
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus/genetics
  • Quality of Life
  • Staphylococcal Infections/drug therapy
  • chronic carrier
  • methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
  • treatment failure
  • MRSA eradication
  • MRSA decolonization


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