In Oman, the prevalence of health care associated methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus [HA-MRSA] is unknown. Therefore, to estimate the prevalence of HA-MRSA, we collected nasal swabs and swabs from cell phones on sterile polyester swabs and immediately inoculated on the mannitol salt agar containing oxacillin from medical students and hospital health care providers. Antibiotic susceptibility testing of the isolates was then performed using the Kirby Bauer's disc diffusion method. Additionally, a brief survey questionnaire was used to acquire demographic data. Amongst the 311 participants enrolled, nasal colonization with HA-MRSA was found in 47 individuals (15.1%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 11.1%, 19.1%). HA-MRSA was also isolated from the cell phone surfaces in 28 participants (9.0%, 95% CI = 8.6%, 9.3%). 5 participants (1.6%) showed positive results both from their nasal swabs and from their cell phones. Antibiotic resistance to erythromycin [48%] and clindamycin [29%] was relatively high. 9.3% HA-MRSA isolates were vancomycin resistant [6.6% nasal carriage]. There was no statistically significant correlation between HA-MRSA isolates and the demographic characteristics or the risk factors namely gender, underlying co-morbidities like diabetes, hypertension, skin/soft tissue infections, skin ulcers/wounds, recent exposure to antibiotics, or hospital visits (p > 0.05, Chi-square test).
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