Community-onset Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in hospitalised African children: high incidence in HIV-infected children and high prevalence of multidrug resistance

Paediatr Int Child Health. 2012 Aug;32(3):140-6. doi: 10.1179/1465328111Y.0000000044.


Background: Invasive bacterial disease causes significant morbidity and mortality in children in developing countries. The burden of invasive disease caused by Staphylococcus aureus and S. aureus antimicrobial resistance patterns in African children in settings with a high prevalence of HIV infection remain ill-defined.

Aims and objectives: To describe the burden of community-onset bacteraemic S. aureus infections in children in an area with a high prevalence of paediatric HIV infection, and to describe the antimicrobial resistance patterns.

Methods: A retrospective record review of children hospitalised at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, Soweto, with S. aureus bacteraemia between January 2005 and December 2006 was conducted. Community-onset S. aureus bloodstream infections were defined as S. aureus cultured from blood obtained within 48 hours of admission.

Results: Community-onset S. aureus bacteraemia was identified in 161 children, representing an incidence of 26/100,000, with 63 (39%) isolates identified as methicillin-resistant (10/100,000). The incidence of community-onset S. aureus bacteraemia, both methicillin-susceptible and methicillin-resistant, was inversely related to age and greater in HIV-infected than uninfected children. High rates of antibiotic resistance were observed in MRSA isolates and only resistance to amikacin, fusidic acid and ciprofloxacin was <40%. MRSA isolates were frequently multidrug-resistant. Among HIV-infected children, resistance to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was 100% and to rifampicin was 78%.

Conclusions: This study highlights the burden of S. aureus bacteraemia in a setting with a high prevalence of paediatric HIV infection. The high incidence of S. aureus bacteraemia coupled with a high prevalence of methicillin resistance, particularly in HIV-infected children, needs to be considered in the empirical management of paediatric sepsis in settings such as ours.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteremia / epidemiology*
  • Bacteremia / microbiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Community-Acquired Infections / epidemiology*
  • Community-Acquired Infections / microbiology
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • South Africa / epidemiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification