Comparative study of staphylococci from the skin of atopic dermatitis patients and from healthy subjects

Int J Dermatol. 1999 Apr;38(4):265-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-4362.1999.00686.x.


Background: Bacterial infections occur frequently on the skin of atopic dermatitis (AD) patients. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the microbiology of the skin of AD patients for staphylococci, the frequency and density of each species, and their susceptibility to antimicrobial drugs.

Methods: To study the staphylococci present on the skin of 21 AD outpatients and of 12 healthy subjects (HS), cutaneous organisms were obtained using the contact-plate method.

Results: Staphylococcus aureus was isolated in 85.7% of AD patients (mild type, 77.8%; moderate type, 87.8%; and severe type, 100%) and in 25% of HS, while Staphylococcus epidermidis was isolated in 83.3% of HS and in 38.1% of AD patients. Among the coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) identified, S. epidermidis was the common type and several other CNS were detected in both AD patients and HS. As the eruption grade of dermatitic skin became more severe, the average density of S. aureus increased (severe, 2.68 +/- 0.86; moderate, 2.49 +/- 0.48; mild, 2.28 +/- 0.44). A reversed tendency was seen in S. epidermidis (severe, 1.80; moderate, 1.90; mild, 2.10). Among nine antimicrobial drugs tested against S. aureus, S. epidermidis, and some other types of CNS isolates, vancomycin (VCM) and minocycline (MINO) were the most active, gentamycin (GM) was the less active, and ampicillin (ABPC) was the least active.

Conclusions: The skin of AD patients was more frequently colonized with S. aureus than that of normal controls. As the severity of the AD lesions increased, the numbers of S. aureus isolated increased. The skin of HS was more colonized with S. epidermidis. Other species of CNS were isolated from several cases of AD patients and HS. In addition, S. aureus, S. epidermidis, and the other CNS showed poor susceptibility to some of the tested antimicrobial drugs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / complications*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Skin / microbiology*
  • Skin / pathology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / complications*
  • Staphylococcus / cytology
  • Staphylococcus / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus / isolation & purification*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents