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Clin Exp Dermatol. 1993 Jul;18(4):300-4.

Skin microflora of atopic eczema in first time hospital attenders.

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  • 1Department of Paediatric Dermatology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital for Children, London, UK.


The bacterial flora of the skin was assessed quantitatively in 50 children with eczema, aged 6 months to 14 years, referred to the hospital for the first time. Twenty nonatopic controls with an unrelated non-infective disorder were also studied. Cotton-tipped swabs and contact agar discs were taken from the worst affected area of eczema and from an uninvolved site in patients and from the forearm in controls. Swabs were also taken from the nose, axilla and groin in all children. Bacterial colonization of the skin was consistently more common and greater in amount from patients compared with controls. Staphylococcus aureus was the most common pathogen isolated from patients only; from the worst affected area of eczema in 74% of patients and from an uninvolved skin site in 30% of patients. Quantitative assessment showed that the density of colonization was proportional to the severity of eczema. The most common S. aureus phage group was group II accounting for 32% of strains. Resistance to penicillin was present in 88% of strains and to two or more antibiotics in 38% of strains. No relationship was noted between the pattern of resistance and phage group.

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