Epidemiological data on staphylococcal scalded skin syndromes (SSSS), including bullous impetigo (BI) and generalized exfoliative syndrome (GES), are scarce. To better characterize SSSS and associated Staphylococcus aureus strains, we conducted a retrospective study of 349 cases collected in France between 1997 and 2007 by the National Reference Centre of Staphylococci. Our results showed a stationary evolution of SSSS cases, with a heterogeneous distribution of cases in France. Although notification was not exhaustive, we estimated an incidence of 0.56 cases/year/million inhabitants, in accordance with previous studies conducted in France and Europe, with a median age of 2 years old and sex ratios of 1. A seasonal effect was observed, with a higher GES/BI ratio in autumn compared with other seasons, which could be explained by the impact of viral co-infection. Genetic analysis of S. aureus strains showed that accessory gene regulator (agr) 4, exfoliative toxin A (eta) and B (etb) genes, staphylococcal and enterotoxin-like O (selo) gene and agr4 etb selo profiles were predominantly associated with GES, whereas agr2 eta and agr4 eta selo were more frequently observed with BI. Only one methicillin-resistant strain was found. Protein A (spa) typing identified two main genotypes: spa clonal complex (CC) 159/sequence-type (ST) 121 (75%) and spaCC346/ST15 (18%). spaCC159 was mainly associated with agr4 eta etb selo, agr4 eta selo and agr4 etb selo, and spaCC346 was mainly associated with agr2 eta, suggesting that French SSSS cases are caused by these two main lineages. However, in a multivariate analysis, only etb was independently associated with GES.
© 2012 The Authors. Clinical Microbiology and Infection © 2012 European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.