Staphylococci are gram-positive bacteria, physiologically residing on human and animal skin and mucosa. Most clinically relevant is Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus), a facultative pathogenic organism provoking infections of skin and wounds, but also severe systemic infections in immunosuppressed patients. Methicillin-resistant strains of S. aureus (MRSA), associated with the health care system, termed hospital acquired (HA)-MRSA, have been a major hospital hygiene problem for decades and are the major cause of nosocomial infections. In a population without any contact to the health care system community acquired (CA)-MRSA, mostly higher pathogenic has been detected more frequently during the last years. Additionally, livestock-associated (LA)-MRSA, associated with massive use of antibiotics in industrial livestock farming, is found in man and beast.
With this pre-study to the project StaphMap Tyrol we investigated the prevalence of methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) and MRSA in healthy probands. Pupils and teachers of seven Tyrolean high schools (n=173) from different districts took nasal swabs of themselves, which were analysed during a teaching project in the laboratories of the fhg and at the Section of Hygiene and Medical Microbiology. A further objective was to enable pupils to take part in a scientific project and to learn basic microbiological techniques. First preliminary data, obtained from this sampling reveal a prevalence of 21,4% S. aureus and 1,2% MRSA. Further investigations based on a representative sample size as well as genetic and epidemiological analysis will follow.