Objective: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is associated with soft tissue infections in surgical patients. In severe cases, it may result in pneumonia, septicaemia and osteomyelitis. Limited data are available with regard to its prevalence and associations in the Caribbean. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of MRSA in patients hospitalized in the surgical wards of the Port-of-Spain General Hospital (POSGH), Trinidad and Tobago, and determine associated risk factors.
Methods: Over the period of April 1 to August 1, 2013, all patients from the surgical wards of the POSGH who had had wound swabs taken were identified. Demographic data included duration of hospital stay, surgical and medical history, antibiotic use and type of wound swab. Microbiological reports were then retrieved and analyses done.
Results: A total of 153 patients had wound swabs taken. There were 38 patients (24%) infected with Staphylococcus aureus, with 15 (39.5%) growing MRSA. Increased susceptibility to MRSA was associated with age, gender, ethnicity, duration of hospital stay, co-morbidities, previous antibiotic use, previous surgery and the type of wound (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: The prevalence of MRSA in the surgical wards of the POSGH was 39.5% of Staphylococcus aureus isolates. Risk factors included the age range of 60–69 years, patients with co-morbidities, hospital stays of longer than one week, previous surgery and prior use of antibiotics. We recommend more awareness of this problem in the practice of Caribbean medicine to improve infection rates.