Funded Research

Epidemiology and Prevention of Staphylococcal Coloniation, Infection, and Transmission
Principal Investigator(s):
  • Center for Metabolism and Immunity
Award Mechanism:
Faculty Recruitment/Scholar Award
Project Period:
2/1/2012 - 1/31/2017
Total Amount:
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a germ which commonly lives on the skin or in the nose, which is also known as colonization. MRSA colonization may place individuals at risk for developing MRSA infections. Over the last decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of MRSA infections in healthy children in the community. MRSA is the most frequent cause of skin infections and invasive, life-threatening infections of the muscles and bones in children. In the presence of this substantial burden, we lack effective methods to reduce MRSA colonization, interrupt the spread of MRSA, and prevent infections. MRSA infections often cluster in households, affecting multiple family members. However, household factors related to MRSA acquisition, infection, and spread have not been well studied. Also, human genetic factors that place individuals at risk for MRSA colonization and disease are not understood. This prospective study will follow 135 pediatric patients and their household contacts for one year. The goals of this project are to: 1) Determine how MRSA is spread among individuals and environmental surfaces within the household setting; 2) Define host genetic factors which influence the development of MRSA colonization and disease. This research will define how MRSA is spread within households and identify human factors contributing to MRSA colonization and infection. These factors must be defined to develop novel methods to interrupt the spread of MRSA and to prevent infections. This knowledge will improve the health of children by decreasing the burden of MRSA disease.