Nonoutbreak-related airborne Staphylococcus spp in a veterinary hospital

Eric A. Lutz, Armando E. Hoet, Michael Pennell, Kurt Stevenson, Timothy J. Buckley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus spp (MRS), such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), is a nosocomial pathogen of significant concern. This study evaluates the prevalence and determinants of airborne MRS and methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus spp (MSS) in a veterinary teaching hospital during periods of no known active clinical cases of Staphylococci infections. Methods: Airborne MRS and MRSA were sampled from 10 areas on 3 days each over 3 consecutive months in a veterinary teaching hospital. Each location was sampled twice each day (daytime and evening). Hospital clinical personnel were surveyed for activity levels across the areas sampled. Results: Airborne MSS was detected in 52% (25/48) of samples and mecA-confirmed airborne MRS in 12.5% (6/48) of samples. Among daytime air samples, Staphylococcus spp varied by functional area (P <.001), and airborne MRS varied by human activity level (P =.011) with the hallway posing the greatest risk for both. Conclusion: Our results indicate that (1) Staphylococcus spp is present in air in clinical environments during periods of no known clinical Staphylococci cases and (2) levels of airborne Staphylococcus spp are associated with functional space and human activity level. Applying these findings to MRSA surveillance creates opportunities for improving the accuracy and precision of exposure classification and risk mitigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)648-651
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Infection Control
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Bioaerosols
  • Environment
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus
  • Non-outbreak
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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