Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Mathematics (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Shigui Ruan

Second Committee Member

Chris Cosner

Third Committee Member

Don DeAngelis

Fourth Committee Member

Marvin Mielke


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that causes infections in different parts of the body. It is tougher to treat than most strains of Staphylococcus aureus or staph, because it is resistant to some commonly used antibiotics. In this work, we investigate the role of environmental contamination on the clinical epidemiology of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in hospitals. A compartmental model is constructed to describe the transmission characteristics of MRSA in hospital setting. The deterministic epidemic model includes five compartments: colonized and uncolonized patients, contaminated and uncontamincated health care workers (HCWs), and bacterial load in environment. Basic reproduction number R0 is calculated, and its numerical and sensitivity analysis has been performed to study the asymptotic behavior of our model, and to help identify factors responsible for observed patterns of infection. A stochastic epidemic model with stochastic simulations is also presented to supply a comprehensive analysis of its behavior. The purpose of this study is to provide theoretical guidance for designing efficient control measures, such as increasing the hand hygiene compliance of HCWs and disinfection rate of environment, and decreasing the transmission rate between environment and patients and HCWs.


methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; dynamic system; environmental infection; differential equations; stochastic simulations