To evaluate the role of normal flora in the nares in preventing Staphylococcus aureus colonization, we conducted a replacement study in vivo. Staphylococcus epidermidis (rate of colonization: 100%), various species of corynebacteria (52.5%) and S. aureus (25.%) were the major bacterial inhabitants in the nares of 156 healthy volunteers. The low incidence of S. aureus colonization in the carriers with corynebacteria (8.5%), compared to non-carriers (44. 5%) indicated the possibility of competition for survival between S. aureus and corynebacteria. To confirm this hypothesis, we artificially implanted a strain of Corynebacterium sp (API Coryne bioprofile; 5100304), denoted as Co304 into the nares of 17 S. aureus carriers. S. aureus was completely eradicated in 71% of carriers by up to 15 inoculations of Co304. However, similar doses of 0.9% NaCl or S. epidermidis into the nares of 10 volunteers did not eradicate S. aureus. No bacteriocin-like activity against S. aureus was detectable, even after mitomycin C stimulation of Co304. Thus Co304 interfered with S. aureus by a different mechanism to a bacteriocin-like activity.
Copyright 2000 The Hospital Infection Society.