JOURNAL ARTICLE
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A clinical trial of mupirocin in the eradication of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage in a digestive disease unit.

We assessed the incidence of nasal carriage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on admission, the rate of acquisition during the hospital stay and the relationship with subsequent infection in a digestive disease unit. The efficacy of a program of nasal carriage eradication with mupirocin was evaluated simultaneously. Over one year 484 patients were studied prospectively on admission for nasal and stool carriage of MRSA, then every week for nasal carriage. Nearly 70% (68.8%) of patients had chronic liver diseases. Nasal carriers were assigned to a five-day course of intranasal mupirocin ointment. One hundred and seventeen (24.2%) patients were MRSA positive, 57 (11.8%) of which were carriers on admission and 60 (12.4%) acquired carriage. Of these, 86 were treated with mupirocin with a success rate of 98.8% and 25.9% of them recolonized. Fourteen patients were retreated, to allow eradication in 71.4% of cases. Seventy percent of these became carriers again. One high-level mupirocin-resistant strain was isolated before treatment and seven during or after treatment. Hospital stay and stool carriage were independently associated with reacquisition (P = 0.0105 and P = 0.0462, respectively). Molecular analysis showed identity between the strains isolated from infection samples and from nasal swabs during the same week. For every patient who became recolonized, nasal strains isolated before and after eradication were the same in 70% of cases. Mortality during hospital stay was independently associated with age (P = 0.0081), MRSA nasal carriage (P = 0.02631), MRSA infection (P < 0.0001) and liver disease (P = 0.0017). This study did not show a change in the prevalence rate of infection in the unit during treatment with mupirocin. This treatment should only be attempted once due to the risk of emergence of high-level resistant strains.

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