Evaluation of pet contact as a risk factor for carriage of multidrug-resistant staphylococci in nursing home residents

Gandolfi-Decristophoris, Paola; De Benedetti, Anna; Petignat, Christiane; Attinger, Monica; Guillaume, Jan; Fiebig, Lena; Hattendorf, Jan; Cernela, Nicole; Regula, Gertraud; Petrini, Orlando; Zinsstag, Jakob; Schelling, Esther (2012). Evaluation of pet contact as a risk factor for carriage of multidrug-resistant staphylococci in nursing home residents. American journal of infection control, 40(2), pp. 128-133. Elsevier 10.1016/j.ajic.2011.04.007

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BACKGROUND Pets, often used as companionship and for psychological support in the therapy of nursing home residents, have been implicated as reservoirs for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. We investigated the importance of pets as reservoirs of multidrug-resistant (MDR) staphylococci in nursing homes. METHODS We assessed the carriage of MDR staphylococci in pets and in 2 groups of residents, those living in nursing homes with pets and those living without pet contacts. We collected demographic, health status, and human-pet contact data by means of questionnaires. We assessed potential bacteria transmission pathways by investigating physical resident-to-pet contact. RESULTS The observed prevalence of MDR staphylococci carriage was 84/229 (37%) in residents living with pets and 99/216 (46%) in those not living with pets (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.4-0.9). Active pet contact was associated with lower carriage of MDR staphylococci (aOR, 0.5; 95% CI, 0.4-0.8). Antibiotic treatment during the previous 3 months was associated with significantly increased risk for MDR carriage in residents (aOR, 3.1; 95% CI, 1.8-5.7). CONCLUSIONS We found no evidence that the previously reported benefits of pet contact are compromised by the increased risk of carriage of MDR staphylococci in residents associated with interaction with these animals in nursing homes. Thus, contact with pets, always under good hygiene standards, should be encouraged in these settings.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Research and Veterinary Public Health (DCR-VPH) > Veterinary Public Health Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Schüpbach, Gertraud


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture








Gertraud Irene Regula

Date Deposited:

27 Mar 2014 17:44

Last Modified:

24 Apr 2018 10:12

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PubMed ID:




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