From July 2005 to October 2006, a total of 3,046 children, of ages between 2 months and 5 years, presented for a well-child health care visit to one of three medical centers, which are located in the northern, central, and southern parts of Taiwan, and were surveyed for nasal carriage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The overall prevalences of S. aureus and MRSA nasal carriage among the children were 23% and 7.3%, respectively (18% and 4.8% in the central region, 25% and 6.7% in the southern region, and 27% and 9.5% in the northern region). Of the 212 MRSA isolates (96%) available for analysis, a total of 10 pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns with two major patterns (C [61%] and D [28%]) were identified. One hundred forty-nine isolates (70%) contained type IV staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) DNA, and 55 isolates (26%) contained SCCmec VT. The presence of Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) genes was detected in 60 isolates (28%). Most MRSA isolates belonged to one of two major clones, characterized as sequence type 59 (ST59)/PFGE C/SCCmec IV/absence of PVL genes (59%) and ST59/PFGE D/SCCmec VT/presence of PVL genes (25%). We concluded that between 2005 and 2006, 7.3% of healthy Taiwanese children were colonized by MRSA in nares. MRSA harbored in healthy children indicates an accelerated spread in the community.
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