In addition to being a hospital-acquired infection, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus
aureus can also be spread throughout a community like most other bacterial and viral diseases.
The sample used for this study was composed purely of college students who live in close
proximity to one another. Bacteria samples from 94 students were cultured in lab and tested for
antibiotic resistance. It was found that 57.4% of students had S. aureus and 14.5% (of the 62
usable results) had MRSA. These results were used to determine whether activities related to the
close living conditions and several hospital related factors affect a person's chance of acquiring
MRSA. It was found that these risk factors do have an impact of the prevalence of MRSA in the
The scientific community acknowledges that microbes are becoming more and more
antibiotic resistant. Once considered miracle drugs, antibiotics have switched from solution to
problem because it is not possible to control the resistant bacteria. One of the strains of resistant
bacteria of concern is Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which is particularly
problematic in hospitals where is has been more prevalent historically. However, people who
contract MRSA are not contained in a hospital. They are allowed to spread the resistant bacteria
to their neighbors, and that could lead to an epidemic that scientists are trying to prevent.
In Europe, there is a program called the European Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance
System which tests hospital patients for MRSA all across Europe. They found that MRSA was
much more prevalent in Southern European countries compared to Northern European countries.
In the Netherlands, for example, only 0.6% of the 5,359 people tested had MRSA compared to
40.9% of 1,470 people in Italy (Tiemersma, 2004). However, the Netherlands have taken several
more steps in the fight against MRSA than most. They have a national search and destroy policy
and place strict policies on antibiotic use (Wertheim, 2004).
In countries with no such policies, incidences of MRSA are higher. Recently, in areas
where people live in close contact with one another, community-acquired MRSA has surfaced as
a major problem. Skin-to-skin contact is one direct route, but the bacteria can also be transmitted
by sharing communal spaces, like locker rooms. In general, the risk factors include contact,
crowding, contaminated surfaces, and lack of cleanliness (Weiner, 2008). One such place is in