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05-08-2010 | Dermatology | Article

Close contacts of atopic dermatitis patients have high nasal S. aureus

Abstract

Free abstract

MedWire News: Study results show that close contacts of patients with atopic dermatitis are significantly more likely to have high levels of nasal Staphylococcus aureus in their anterior nares than close contacts of control individuals.

The increased level of S. aureus seen in the anterior nares of the contacts of the atopic dermatitis patients was not associated with the severity of the condition, however.

Lai Shan Chiu (Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong) and co-workers recruited 211 children and young adults ranging in age from 4 months to 20 years. Of these, 50 had atopic dermatitis, 50 were controls without atopic dermatitis, 60 were close contacts of the atopic dermatitis patients, and 51 were close contacts of the controls.

Around 90% of patients with atopic dermatitis have skin colonisation with S. aureus compared with approximately 30% of the general population, and it is a common trigger for the condition.

Writing in the Archives of Dermatology, the researchers report that significantly more close contacts of atopic dermatitis patients had S. aureus colonization of their anterior nares compared with close contacts of the controls, at 23% and 8%, respectively. This difference remained significant after exclusion of any close contacts with atopic dermatitis.

Presence of nasal S. aureus in the close contacts of atopic dermatitis patients was not associated with severity of the condition in the patients. But, in the 50 patients with atopic dermatitis, the SCORAD (Scoring Atopic Dermatitis) index was significantly higher in patients with S. aureus colonization than in those without, at 48.3 versus 24.6.

Only skin colonization with S. aureus was associated with severe atopic dermatitis on multivariate analysis, at an odds ratio of 17.0 for having a more severe condition.

Chiu et al suggest that "the anterior nares of close contacts of atopic dermatitis patients serve as reservoirs of S. aureus and contribute to the transmission of S. aureus between atopic dermatitis patients and their close contacts."

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By Helen Albert