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Madhuri Sopirala, MD, MPH

Award Name Davis/Bremer

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Burden of MRSA in the Community Surrounding the Hospital

Madhuri Sopirala, MD, MPH, received a Davis/Bremer award from The Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science and the College of Medicine for her research about Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the community.

Sopirala is an Infectious Disease Physician and Hospital Epidemiologist interested in multi-drug resistant organisms and their transmission.

Her current research focuses on identifying MRSA risk areas surrounding hospitals.

“What I am trying to do is identify those patients who come to the (Emergency Department) who are colonized with MRSA and then track them into the community and see where they live,” Sopirala said.

When patients come through the emergency department at University Hospital East, a questionnaire will be filled out. The form will ask about risk factors for MRSA and for their home address and zip code. Swabs will then be taken from the patients and tested for MRSA colonization.

This prospective study is currently waiting on IRB approval. After approval comes through, which Sopirala said should happen within the next month, she will begin collecting samples.

Samples that have positive results for MRSA colonization will then be analyzed for risk factors and place of residence, based on the questionnaire.

Sopirala plans to then geo-code the information. This process will allow her to see where in the community most cases are coming from and identify any patterns.

“I would be identifying high risk areas in the community surrounding a hospital,” Sopirala said.

Sopirala said IRB approval has been a struggle because approval takes a long time for prospective studies. She hopes the results of this project will “open doors for future projects.”

There is currently no other research on this topic that has been developed to track MRSA from the hospital into the community and back into the hospital.

“The overall goal is really to identify the MRSA in the community served by a given hospital,” Sopirala said. “If that can be established, interventions can be put in place to stop transmission back into the hospital.”

“The concept is to reduce incoming MRSA into the hospital by targeting the roots.”

By Emily Tramte, Friday, May 28, 2010

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