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International Journal of Microbiology
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 979734, 7 pages
Research Article

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus Carriage among Students at a Historically Black University: A Case Study

1Department of Biology, Virginia State University, 1 Hayden Drive, Petersburg, VA 23806, USA
2Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Microbiology, Immunology & Infectious Diseases, and Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 4N1

Received 19 August 2012; Revised 26 October 2012; Accepted 19 December 2012

Academic Editor: Barbara H. Iglewski

Copyright © 2013 Hua Shen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Black people in the USA is afflicted with a higher rate of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection. This study determined the prevalence of MRSA carriage among black college students at a university setting. Methods. Hand and nasal swabs were collected and screened for MRSA by mannitol fermentation, coagulase, and DNase activities and their resistance to oxacillin. MRSA isolates were analyzed for antimicrobial resistance pattern, genetic profile for staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) type, pulsed-field type, multilocus sequence type (ST), and the presence of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) gene. Results. MRSA was isolated from 1 of the 312 (0.3%) hand swabs and 2 of the 310 (0.65%) nasal swabs, respectively. All isolates lack multidrug resistance and have type IV SCCmec, characteristic of community-associated MRSA. These isolates were a ST8-MRSA-IVa-PVL(+) (USA300 strain), a ST8-MRSA-IVb-PVL(−), and a new MLST, ST2562-MRSA-IV-PVL(−), identified in this study. These isolates were thus not transmitted among students. Conclusion. We found a low rate of MRSA carriage among students in a black university. Our finding highlights the need of future study which involves multiinstitutions and other ethnic group to assess the association of black race with MRSA carriage.