Prevalence of cystic fibrosis pathogens in the oropharynx of healthy children and implications for cystic fibrosis care

J Cyst Fibros. 2012 Sep;11(5):456-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jcf.2012.04.004. Epub 2012 Apr 30.


Objective: To describe the prevalence of the CF pathogens Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus and Haemophilus influenzae in OP cultures from healthy children.

Methods: Oropharyngeal (OP) swabs were collected from 100 healthy children ≤18 years of age undergoing a clinically indicated procedure.

Results: P. aeruginosa was isolated from the OP swab of one participant, S. aureus from 48 participants (including 4 methicillin-resistant) and H. influenzae from 47 participants. Cultures from 75 participants grew one or more of these organisms (55 grew one, 19 grew 2 and one grew 3 organisms).

Conclusion: P. aeruginosa is rarely recovered from the oropharynx of healthy children ≤18 years of age, while recovery of S. aureus and H. influenzae is common. It is important to understand what the "normal" prevalence of CF pathogens is in the oropharynx in order to aid interpretation of OP cultures in CF patients.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriological Techniques / methods
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis / epidemiology
  • Cystic Fibrosis / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Haemophilus influenzae / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oropharynx / microbiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / isolation & purification*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections* / diagnosis
  • Respiratory Tract Infections* / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections* / microbiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification*
  • Washington / epidemiology