Isolation of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus from Wound Samples during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Retrospective Study
Dr. Bashir Fomda,
Professor, Department of Microbiology, SKIMS, Srinagar-190011, Jammu and Kashmir, India.
Introduction: On March 11th, 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus as a pandemic. This recently discovered β-coronavirus spread instantaneously across mainland China due to human-to-human transmission and crossed international borders aided by intercontinental travel. In most nations, the logarithmic growth of the cases very quickly overwhelmed the healthcare system which led to the overcrowding of the hospitals and led to a sudden surge in Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs). Implementation of contact precautions was implemented to control cross-infection.
Aim: To determine the effect of Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) on the prevalence of HAIs with special emphasis on Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus).
Materials and Methods: This three-year retrospective study (September 2018-August 2021) was undertaken at an apex tertiary care institute in Northern India. Wound swabs were collected and processed in the laboratory for the presence of aerobic bacterial isolates. S. aureus was identified using conventional methods and antimicrobial sensitivity was performed by the Kirby-Bauer disc diffusion method. Data was entered in Microsoft Excel and later analysed in International Business Machines (IBM) Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22.0.
Results: A steady increase in the isolation of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was noted during the study period (60.5% in 2018 to 78.1% in 2021). A statistically significant increase was noted in the detection of MRSA after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic (p=0.018) despite the reduced number of surgeries conducted in the institution and rigorous execution of contact precautions.
Conclusion: There was an increase in the rate of MRSA isolation during the study period. The increase was significantly affected by the onset of COVID-19. To contain the spread of MRSA, novel methods including preoperative screening of patients undergoing elective surgeries and periodic screening of hospital staff need to be implemented along with standard infection control precautions at all times.