(HealthDay News) – Groin colonization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) leads to an increased risk of developing active MRSA infection later among HIV-infected patients, according to a study published in the April issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Philip J. Peters, MD, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues enrolled HIV-infected adults in a prospective cohort study. Swab specimens collected from the nares and groin were cultured for S. aureus at baseline and at six and 12 months.

The researchers found that MRSA colonization was seen in 13–15% of HIV-infected participants (98% male) at baseline, six months, and 12 months. Nares-only MRSA colonization (41%), groin-only (21%), and colonization at both sites (38%) were detected. MRSA clinical infections occurred 29 times in 25 participants over a median of 2.1 years of follow-up. MRSA clinical infection was significantly associated with MRSA colonization of the groin (adjusted risk ratio, 4.8) and a history of MRSA infection (adjusted risk ratio, 3.1).

“MRSA prevention strategies that can effectively prevent or eliminate groin colonization are likely necessary to reduce clinical infections in this population,” the authors write.

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