Persistent Staphylococcus aureus colonization has historically been studied in the nares, over short time periods, and in healthcare settings. We describe persistent S. aureus colonization recovered from multiple anatomical sites and household environmental surfaces over 2 years in the community.
Households of children with methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) skin or soft tissue infection (SSTI) were enrolled in a longitudinal study. Visits were conducted in participant’s homes up to 10 times over 2 years (~ every 3 months). Cultures were obtained from each household member’s axillae, nares, and inguinal folds and from up to 21 household surfaces. Persistent S. aureus colonization was defined as colonization at ≥1 body site or environment surface at ≥3 consecutive samplings.
Cultures were collected ≥3 times (median 7) from 508 participants in 116 households. Most participants (n=403, 79%) were colonized with S. aureus at least once (median 2 positive samplings per participant). On average, participants were colonized at 33% of samplings over 2 years. Forty-nine (10%) participants were colonized at all samplings. Over the longitudinal study, 178 (35%) participants were persistently colonized.
Environmental sampling was completed ≥3 times (median 7) in 103 households. S. aureus was recovered from the environment at least once in 101 (98%) households (median 5 positive samplings per household). On average, household environments were colonized at 70% of samplings over 2 years. Twenty-six (25%) household environments were colonized at all samplings. Over the longitudinal study, 71 (69%) household environments were persistently colonized.
Participants in households with persistent S. aureus environmental colonization were more likely to be persistently colonized than those in households without persistent colonization (56% vs. 19%, p=0.001). Males trended to be more likely to be persistently colonized than females (39% vs. 32%, p=0.08). Antibiotic use in the past year, SSTI in the past year, eczema, bathing frequency, and sharing a bed with someone were not associated with persistent S. aureus colonization.
S. aureus persists for prolonged periods on the skin and environmental surfaces of people living in households affected by MRSA SSTI.
P. G. Hogan,
R. Thompson, None
J. Wang, None
J. Morelli, None
M. Sullivan, None
S. Fritz, None