Occupational exposure to Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus spp. among spray irrigation workers using reclaimed water

Rachel E. Rosenberg Goldstein, Shirley A. Micallef, Shawn G. Gibbs, Xin He, Ashish George, Amir Sapkota, Sam W. Joseph, Amy R. Sapkota

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


As reclaimed water use expands, it is important to evaluate potential occupational health risks from exposure to this alternative water source. We compared odds of colonization with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), and vancomycin-susceptible enterococci (VSE) between spray irrigation workers using reclaimed water and office worker controls. Nasal and dermal swabs from 19 spray irrigation workers and 24 office worker controls were collected and analyzed for MRSA, MSSA, VRE, and VSE. Isolates were confirmed using standard biochemical tests andpolymerase chain reaction assays. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed by Sensititre® microbroth dilution. Data were analyzed by two-sample proportion, chi-square, Fisher's exact tests, and logistic regression. No MRSA or VRE were detected in any samples. MSSA was detected in 26% and 29% of spray irrigators and controls, respectively. VSE was detected in 11% and 0% of spray irrigation workers and controls, respectively. The adjusted odds of MSSA, multidrug-resistant MSSA, and either MSSA or VSE colonization were greater among spray irrigation workers, however results were not statistically significant. Future studies with larger sample sizes are needed to further evaluate this relationship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4340-4355
Number of pages16
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 17 2014


  • Antibiotic-resistance
  • Enterococci
  • Occupational exposure
  • Spray irrigation
  • Staphylococcus aureus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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