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J Clin Microbiol. 2006 Sep;44(9):3334-9.

Staphylococcus aureus throat colonization is more frequent than colonization in the anterior nares.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Microbiology and Infection Control, The County Hospital of Halmstad, S-30185 Halmstad, Sweden.


The aim of this study was to determine the frequency and persistence of Staphylococcus aureus carriage in the throat in relation to anterior naris carriage. By use of a sensitive enrichment broth, S. aureus was cultured from the two sites from 259 patients upon admission to an orthopedic ward and from 87 staff members of the same ward. The throat was the most common carriage site in both groups. Forty percent of the patients and 54% of the staff were positive for S. aureus in the throat, compared to 31% and 36%, respectively, in the anterior nares. To determine the persistence of carriage, 67 individuals were repeatedly sampled from the anterior nares and the throat over 2 years (5 to 10 sampling occasions; mean, 7.8). The majority, 58% (39/67), were defined as persistent carriers of S. aureus, considering culture results from both sites. Of the 39 persistent carriers, 15 individuals were culture positive from only the throat on more than half of the sampling occasions (these are called preferential throat carriers) while only 5% (two individuals) were preferential anterior naris carriers by use of the same definition. Typing of the collected S. aureus isolates by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis revealed that the same strain of S. aureus was present, over time, in the throat of an individual at least to the same extent as in the anterior nares. Throat carriage was at least as persistent as carriage in the anterior nares.

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