(HealthDay News) – Household contacts of children with Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) skin and soft tissue infections (SSTI) appear to have higher rates of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) colonization compared to the general population.

Stephanie A. Fritz, MD, from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues analyzed colonization in 609 household contacts of 183 pediatric patients with S. aureus SSTI and S. aureus colonization (in the nose, axilla, and/or inguinal folds).

The researchers found that 61, 30, and 9% of the index patients were colonized with MRSA, methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA), and both MRSA and MSSA, respectively. Of the household contacts, 53% were colonized with S. aureus and 19, 32, and 2%, respectively, were colonized with MRSA, MSSA, and both. Compared with other household contacts, parents were more likely to be colonized with MRSA (odds ratio [OR], 1.72). The inguinal folds were more frequently colonized by MRSA than MSSA (OR, 1.67), while the nose was colonized more frequently by MSSA than MRSA (OR, 1.75).

“Household contacts of children with S. aureus SSTI had a high rate of MRSA colonization compared with the general population,” the authors write. “The inguinal fold is a prominent site of MRSA colonization, which may be an important consideration for active surveillance programs in hospitals.”

The study was funded in part by the Infectious Diseases Society of America/National Foundation for Infectious Diseases Pfizer Fellowship in Clinical Disease.

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