Outbreak of staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome among neonates

J Infect. 1988 Jan;16(1):87-103. doi: 10.1016/s0163-4453(88)96249-4.


Over a period of 2 months, 12 babies born in the maternity unit at Guy's Hospital developed staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome in two distinct outbreaks. Staphylococci isolated from the babies, together with those from the mothers and attending medical staff were phage-typed. All isolates from the babies were of type 3A/3C. During the first outbreak only one carrier of the epidemic strain (a paediatrician) was found but a further 12 persons were identified as possible carriers during the second outbreak. In order to confirm the link between outbreaks, all phage group II isolates were subjected to reverse phage-typing, testing for metal-ion resistance, plasmid profiling and in-vivo testing for production of epidermolytic toxin. It was shown that the same epidemic strain of toxin-producing Staphylococcus aureus was responsible for both outbreaks. The affected neonates responded rapidly to a short course of intravenous flucloxacillin. The outbreak ceased after appropriate treatment of all carriers and the implementation of an extensive disinfection policy within the maternity unit.

MeSH terms

  • Carrier State / diagnosis
  • Cross Infection / etiology*
  • Cross Infection / therapy
  • Exfoliatins / biosynthesis
  • Floxacillin / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • London
  • Metals / pharmacology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology Department, Hospital
  • Plasmids
  • Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome / drug therapy
  • Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome / microbiology
  • Staphylococcal Skin Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification
  • Staphylococcus aureus / metabolism


  • Exfoliatins
  • Metals
  • Floxacillin