MRSA and soft tissue infection

Research has shown there is a higher rate of MRSA colonisation in household contacts of children with Staphylococcus aureus skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI) than the general population

This cross-sectional study was set up to determine the prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus colonisation in household contacts of children with acute SSTI, the risk factors for Staph aureus colonisation in household contacts and the anatomical sites of colonisation in patients and household contacts.

It included 183 index patients with community-associated Staph aureus SSTI and Staph aureus colonisation (nose, axilla and/or inguinal folds). A total of 112 (61%) had MRSA and 54 (30%) had methicillin-sensitive Staph aureus (MSSA), while 17 (9%) were colonised with both. The buttocks were the most common site of SSTI. The inguinal area had the highest rate of MRSA colonisation.

Of the 661 eligible household contacts, 609 (92%) provided swabs; 323 (53%) were colonised with Staph aureus, 115 (19%) with MRSA, 195 (32%) with MSSA and 13 (2%) with MRSA and MSSA.

The researchers observed that while patients were more likely than household contacts to be colonised with MRSA, the latter are not routinely sampled for Staph aureus colonisation. The failure to identify all colonised household contacts may facilitate persistent colonisation or recurrent infections. The authors conclude that there are no data to indicate whether routine household sampling or decolonisation would be practical or cost-effective.
Fritz SA, Hogan PG, Hayek G et al. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 2012; 166: 551-7

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