Nasal carriage of Staphylococcus aureus in healthy Aucklanders

N Z Med J. 2011 Apr 15;124(1332):31-9.


Background: Studies have reported higher rates of diseases caused by Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) amongst Maori and Pacific people, compared with people of other ethnicities.

Aim: We aimed to estimate the prevalence of nasal carriage and to explore demographic differences between S. aureus carriers and non-carriers in Auckland, New Zealand.

Materials and methods: Nasal swab specimens were obtained from healthy population volunteers, who did not have recent healthcare contact. Each participant completed a short questionnaire.

Results: 78/424 (18%; 95%CI, 15-22) S. aureus carriers were identified. Female participants were less likely to be S. aureus carriers than males; but there were no differences in the ages or ethnic groups between S. aureus carriers and non-carriers. Socioeconomic deprivation, recent non-hospital healthcare contact and past history of S. aureus infection were not associated with S. aureus carriage.

Conclusion: Ethnic variation in the prevalence of S. aureus nasal carriage does not contribute to an increased risk of disease caused by S. aureus.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bacteremia / epidemiology
  • Bacteremia / ethnology
  • Bacteremia / microbiology
  • Carrier State / epidemiology*
  • Carrier State / ethnology
  • Carrier State / microbiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Mucosa / microbiology*
  • New Zealand
  • Population Surveillance
  • Reference Values
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / ethnology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus*
  • Young Adult