Tara Elliott

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Barbara Long

Degree Award Date

Spring 2005


Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA, Colonization, College Students


Bacterial Infections and Mycoses | Diseases | Medicine and Health Sciences


Staphylococcus aureus is commonly found in any environment and often causes bacterial infections. While s. aureus continues to progress as a penicillin resistant organism most varieties are effectively treated with penicillinase-stable penicillins such as oxacillin or methicillin. Since 1961, oxacillin/methicillin resistant strains of staphylococcus aureus have been identified.

At one time an organism that was seen only in long-term care facilities and hospital, methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is rapidly emerging in the athletic population. Recent reports show MRSA in apparently healthy individuals without history of hospitalization. Neither is the organism confined to one athletic population or locality. Outbreaks have occurred thought the United States, in California, Colorado, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Connecticut, Vermont, Texas, and Virginia.

However upon searching for data on the prevalence of MRSA colonization in the population, there are no published numbers of percentages of people colonized with MRSA at any one time. Therefore this pilot study was developed to determine the percentage of colonized subjects, to identify if more extensive trials are warranted.