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Risk Factors for Staphylococcus aureus Acquisition in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit: A Matched Case-Case-Control Study

  • Matthew C. Washam (a1), Andrea Ankrum (a2), Beth E. Haberman (a3), Mary Allen Staat (a4) and David B. Haslam (a4)...

To determine risk factors independent of length of stay (LOS) for Staphylococcus aureus acquisition in infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).


Retrospective matched case–case-control study.


Quaternary-care referral NICU at a large academic children’s hospital.


Infants admitted between January 2014 and March 2016 at a level IV NICU who acquired methicillin resistant (MRSA) or susceptible (MSSA) S. aureus were matched with controls by duration of exposure to determine risk factors for acquisition. A secondary post hoc analysis was performed on the entire cohort of at-risk infants for risk factors identified in the primary analysis to further quantify risk.


In total, 1,751 infants were admitted during the study period with 199 infants identified as having S. aureus prevalent on admission. There were 246 incident S. aureus acquisitions in the remaining at-risk infant cohort. On matched analysis, infants housed in a single-bed unit were associated with a significantly decreased risk of both MRSA (P=.03) and MSSA (P=.01) acquisition compared with infants housed in multibed pods. Across the entire cohort, pooled S. aureus acquisition was significantly lower in infants housed in single-bed units (hazard ratio,=0.46; confidence interval, 0.34–0.62).


NICU bed design is significantly associated with S. aureus acquisition in hospitalized infants independent of LOS.

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 2018;39:46–52

Corresponding author
Address correspondence to Matthew Washam, MD MPH, 1600 SW Archer Rd, Gainesville, FL 32610 (
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Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
  • ISSN: 0899-823X
  • EISSN: 1559-6834
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