A retrospective 12-year study (May 1988-July 2000) was undertaken in children with cystic fibrosis (CF) to evaluate 1) the magnitude of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in these children; 2) the clinical impact of MRSA on CF; and 3) the efficacy of an MRSA protocol aimed at the eradication of the carrier state. The study maneuver comprised of 1) surveillance cultures of throat/rectum to detect the MRSA carrier state; 2) life-long cephradine rather than flucloxacillin to lift selection pressure; 3) topical application of oral and nebulized vancomycin for 5 days to clear the carriage of MRSA; and 4) a strict antistaphylococcal hygiene program, including handwashing and device policy. Fifteen children with CF (11 boys, with median age 117 months) positive for MRSA were enrolled. The current prevalence of MRSA among children with CF in our hospital is 6.5%. Of 15 children identified, only 12 (18 episodes of MRSA colonization) were treated according to protocol. Median age of MRSA acquisition was 73 months (interquartile range, 43-134 months). In 7 patients (55%), MRSA was eradicated. Of a total of 18 MRSA episodes, the protocol was successful in 10 episodes. The mean period of MRSA-free status was 12 months (range, 6-36 months). Pulmonary function (measured by FEV(1)) was not affected (68% of predicted before treatment, and 68% of predicted after treatment). All children were oropharyngeal carriers of both MRSA and ceftazidime-resistant P. aeruginosa. We believe that an effort has to be made to limit MRSA in CF clinics for the following reasons: 1) MRSA carriage in any individual is an abnormal condition; 2) limitation of systemic vancomycin use is desirable; 3) MRSA carriage may be a contraindication for lung transplantation; and 4) epidemiologically, a CF unit with a substantial MRSA problem functions as a source of dissemination for other patients.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.