Methicillin-resistant and borderline methicillin-resistant asymptomatic Staphylococcus aureus colonization in children without identifiable risk factors

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 1999 May;18(5):410-4. doi: 10.1097/00006454-199905000-00003.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Carrier State / microbiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Methicillin Resistance*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Nose / microbiology
  • Oxacillin / pharmacology
  • Penicillins / pharmacology
  • Perineum / microbiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification


  • Penicillins
  • Oxacillin