Tag Archives: mrsa decolonisation

“Woolly Mammoths or Unknown Soldiers?”


Do MRSA decolonisation regimes rid an MRSA carrier completely of the bacteria?

A person who is colonised with methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (MRSA), at a rough guess, are likely to harbour between 10,000,000 and 10,000,000,000 MRSA bacteria in their bodies.

Should we believe then that a successful decolonisation regime rids the person completely of MRSA?, or just below the detection limits of the laboratory assay.

There are thus two possible theories:

Woolly mammoth: When unfavourable environmental conditions prevail, the decline in numbers in a population reaches a critical point where the decrease is irreversible and the numbers present in the population/host decline to zero.

Unknown soldier: An army regiment loses a battle. However the surviving soldiers hide away undectected in the population, ready to regroup and fight again when conditions are more favourable.

I have no idea what the answer is, but would be interested in any suggestions. My gut instinct is that MRSA decolonisation falls into the latter (soldier) theory, and that after “successful” decolonisation, a small number of MRSA bacteria lie undetected in the host (?intra-cellular) and undetectable, waiting to make a re-appearance when conditions become more favourable to their proliferation.

I am only making an educated guess here however….