Background: In recent years, multiple reports of an increase in the emergence of community-acquired methicillin- resistant Staphylococcus aureus MRSA (CA-MRSA) have arisen. A potential infection risk may be present if a patient were to be transported by an emergency medical services (EMS) unit that previously transported a patient harboring CA-MRSA. We, therefore, sought to investigate whether there is a certain prevalence of CA-MRSA contamination among ambulances operating in the city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Methods: This was an observational, cross-sectional survey study involving ambulances (types I to IV) in service in Jeddah from September to November of 2018. Five areas were chosen to be swabbed in each ambulance enrolled in our study.
Results: A total of 425 samples were collected from 85 ambulances operating in three different health care sectors. Our results showed the overall contamination to be 338 samples (79.5%), with the highest contamination rate found on the stretcher grips and the blood pressure cuff sites (both n = 70 samples; 16.47%). Overall, only three samples yielded S. aureus bacteria, with none being MRSA.
Conclusion: Even though we have an overall bacterial contamination rate of 79.5% in the areas surveyed on EMS ambulances, it is not clear that this contamination has a pathological potential to cause disease. The failure to isolate a single MRSA sample from the 425 taken suggests there is no MRSA problem.
Key words: Ambulance, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA, emergency medical services.