BACKGROUND: As healthy children are the main reservoir of respiratory pathogens and the main cause of bacterial diffusion in the community, it could be interesting to investigate the type of screening that should be used during the early years of life in order to obtain a more precise estimate of Staphylococcus aureus circulation. The aim of this study was to evaluate oropharyngeal and nasal S. aureus carriage in otherwise healthy children and adolescents aged 6-17 years.
METHODS: The oropharyngeal and nasal samples were collected in December 2013 from 497 healthy students attending five randomly selected schools in Milan, Italy, using an ESwab kit, and S. aureus was identified using the RIDA®GENE methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) system.
RESULTS: Two hundred and sixty-four subjects (53.1%) were identified as S. aureus carriers: 129 (25.9%) oropharyngeal carriers and 195 (39.2%) nasal carriers, of whom 60 (12.1%) were both oropharyngeal and nasal carriers. Oropharyngeal carriage increased with age (p
CONCLUSIONS: The oropharyngeal carriage of mainly methicillin-sensitive S. aureus is frequent in otherwise healthy children, including a relatively high proportion of those without nasal colonisation. These findings highlight the importance of adding throat to nasal screening when monitoring the circulation of S. aureus in the community.
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