Community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization in healthy children attending an outpatient pediatric clinic

Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2001 Aug;20(8):763-7. doi: 10.1097/00006454-200108000-00009.


Background: We previously showed that children attending an inner city pediatric emergency department were sometimes asymptomatically colonized with clindamycin-susceptible community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and borderline methicillin-resistant S. aureus (BRSA) as well. We wished to ascertain whether healthy children attending an outpatient clinic were colonized with these organisms. Therefore to estimate the prevalence of community-acquired MRSA and BRSA nasal colonization in a well child population, we cultured children attending an inner city pediatric outpatient clinic.

Study design: This was a prospective cross-sectional study conducted from January to August, 1999, at a primary care outpatient facility at the University of Chicago. The target population was 500 healthy children < or = 16 years of age who attended this facility to receive well child care.

Results: One hundred twenty-two (24.4%) children were colonized with S. aureus. Three of the 122 (2.5%) S. aureus isolates were MRSA; they came from children who lacked predisposing risk factors and were susceptible to clindamycin, gentamicin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, rifampin and ciprofloxacin. Two (1.6%) additional S. aureus isolates were BRSA; both children had predisposing risk factors for MRSA colonization. The mecA gene was present in the 3 MRSA isolates and absent in both BRSA isolates.

Conclusions: These data document that a reservoir of asymptomatic MRSA colonization exists among healthy children who lack traditional risk factors for MRSA infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Carrier State / microbiology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community-Acquired Infections / epidemiology*
  • Community-Acquired Infections / microbiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Methicillin / pharmacology
  • Methicillin Resistance*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Nose / microbiology
  • Penicillins / pharmacology
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus aureus / growth & development*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification


  • Penicillins
  • Methicillin