Context: Widespread pneumococcal conjugate vaccination may bring about epidemiologic changes in upper respiratory tract flora of children. Of particular significance may be an interaction between Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus, in view of the recent emergence of community-acquired methicillin-resistant S aureus.
Objective: To examine the prevalence and risk factors of carriage of S pneumoniae and S aureus in the prevaccination era in young children.
Design, setting, and patients: Cross-sectional surveillance study of nasopharyngeal carriage of S pneumoniae and nasal carriage of S aureus by 790 children aged 40 months or younger seen at primary care clinics in central Israel during February 2002.
Main outcome measures: Carriage rates of S pneumoniae (by serotype) and S aureus; risk factors associated with carriage of each pathogen.
Results: Among 790 children screened, 43% carried S pneumoniae and 10% carried S aureus. Staphylococcus aureus carriage among S pneumoniae carriers was 6.5% vs 12.9% in S pneumoniae noncarriers. Streptococcus pneumoniae carriage among S aureus carriers was 27.5% vs 44.8% in S aureus noncarriers. Only 2.8% carried both pathogens concomitantly vs 4.3% expected dual carriage (P =.03). Risk factors for S pneumoniae carriage (attending day care, having young siblings, and age older than 3 months) were negatively associated with S aureus carriage.
Conclusions: Streptococcus pneumoniae carriage, specifically of vaccine-type strains, is negatively associated with S aureus carriage in children. The implications of these findings in the pneumococcal vaccine era require further investigation.