A clinical and microbiological comparison of Staphylococcus aureus toxic shock and scalded skin syndromes in children

Clin Infect Dis. 2006 Jan 15;42(2):181-5. doi: 10.1086/498901. Epub 2005 Dec 12.


Background: This study was designed to compare the clinical characteristics, toxin expression, virulence factors, and antimicrobial susceptibilities of staphylococci isolated from Taiwanese children with staphylococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS) and staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (SSSS).

Methods: Demographic characteristics, hospital course, and outcomes of the children were analyzed. Toxin-specific and virulence genes of the staphylococci were detected by polymerase chain reaction amplification. Antimicrobial susceptibilities were determined by disk diffusion and the Etest.

Results: Staphylococcus aureus was isolated from 16 children (6 in the STSS group and 10 in the SSSS group). Children with STSS tended to be older than those with SSSS, had a longer duration of hospitalization, and a much higher mortality rate. Community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus was isolated from 11 (68.8%) of 16 children. All of these isolates contained the ermB and mecA genes, but none had the mefA gene. All 16 isolates tested positive for the fnbA gene. The pvl and seb genes were more frequently found among S. aureus from the STSS group, compared with S. aureus from the SSSS group. We found that 67% (4 of 6) of the STSS isolates were genetically related. All of the S. aureus isolates were susceptible to vancomycin, gentamicin, doxycycline, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Most isolates were resistant to clindamycin (63%), oxacillin (69%), and clarithromycin (81%).

Conclusions: The most distinguishing feature of these isolates is the greater frequency of pvl and seb carriage among those from the STSS group. Most of the isolates were community-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus that were highly resistant to macrolides but susceptible to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Vancomycin remains the initial drug of choice for treatment of STSS and SSSS. More studies are needed to determine the efficacy of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole in children with these syndromes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacterial Toxins / genetics
  • Bacterial Toxins / metabolism
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Shock, Septic / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / metabolism
  • Staphylococcus aureus / pathogenicity
  • Taiwan
  • Virulence Factors / genetics
  • Virulence Factors / metabolism


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Virulence Factors