Contacts of children who have been treated for skin infections associated with Staphylococcus aureus are likely to be colonized methicillin-resistant S. aureus themselves, according to a recently published study.
Stephanie A. Fritz, MD, and colleagues from the department of pediatrics at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis performed a cross-sectional study of 183 children who were treated for S. aureus skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI) to examine the prevalence of S. aureus colonization among household contacts. The researchers also looked at household contact risk factors for colonization and considered anatomical colonization sites in both children and household contacts.
Of the children with S. aureus infection, 112 were colonized with MRSA; 54 had methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA); and 17 children were colonized with both.
Fritz and colleagues reported that of 609 household contacts, 323 were colonized with S. aureus; 115 were colonized with MRSA; 195 with MSSA; and 13 with both.
The researchers noted that parents were more likely to be colonized with MRSA than others living in the household. Household contacts closest to the age of the infected child also seemed more at risk for MRSA colonization, perhaps because these family members “may share a bed or a bath with the index patient or share toys or personal hygiene items,” the researchers wrote, adding that MRSA was more commonly found in the inguinal folds than MSSA, which was more likely found in the nares.
“Failure to identify all colonized household members may facilitate persistent colonization or recurrent infections,” Fritz and colleagues wrote. “In addition, household environmental surfaces and shared objects represent potential reservoirs for S. aureus transmission. However, there are no data to indicate whether routine household sampling or decolonization would be practical or cost-effective. Longitudinal studies are needed to illuminate S. aureus transmission dynamics between household members and their home environment.”
Disclosure: Dr. Fritz reports no relevant financial disclosures.