Background: The recent evolution in the epidemiology of methicillin-resistant asymptomatic Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections in children, whereby children without traditional risk factors for MRSA have been hospitalized in increasing numbers, prompted us to establish whether a parallel increase in "asymptomatic" MRSA colonization had occurred.
Methods: We cultured the nares and perineum of 500 children attending our Pediatric Emergency Department.
Results: One hundred thirty-two (26.4%) of these children were colonized with S. aureus. Eleven (8.3%) of the S. aureus isolates were MRSA; 4 (36.4%) of the 11 subjects colonized with MRSA had no risk factors. Seven (5.3%) of the 132 S. aureus isolates were borderline methicillin-resistant S. aureus (BRSA); 5 (71.4%) of the 7 subjects colonized with BRSA had no MRSA risk factors.
Conclusions: These findings indicate that MRSA and BRSA isolates are circulating in the community and that MRSA isolates are no longer confined to children with frequent contact with a health care environment.