This prospective multi-centre study assessed nasal colonization with meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) among patients on admission to and discharge from 11 rehabilitation centres in Germany. On admission, 71 of 5896 patients (1.2%) carried MRSA. History of MRSA carriage [odds ratio (OR) 4.3, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.8-10.6], hospitalization within the previous six months (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.2-5.2), contact with pigs (OR 22.5, 95% CI 11.1-45.7) and presence of chronic wounds (OR 4.7, 95% CI 1.9-12.0) were independently associated with MRSA. On discharge, 0.3% of the patients had acquired MRSA. (C) 2014 The Healthcare Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.