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PLoS One. 2017 Jan 20;12(1):e0170320. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0170320. eCollection 2017.

Nasal Carriage of Staphylococcus aureus among Children in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.

Author information

Infectious Disease Epidemiology, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Germany.
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), Bonn, Germany.
German Centre for Infection Research (DZIF), Hamburg-Borstel-Lübeck, Germany.
Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR), Kumasi, Ghana.
Institute of Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology, University Clinic of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.
Institute for Pharmaceutical Microbiology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.



Nasal carriage with Staphylococcus aureus is a common risk factor for invasive infections, indicating the necessity to monitor prevalent strains, particularly in the vulnerable paediatric population. This surveillance study aims to identify carriage rates, subtypes, antimicrobial susceptibilities and virulence markers of nasal S. aureus isolates collected from children living in the Ashanti region of Ghana.


Nasal swabs were obtained from children < 15 years of age on admission to the Agogo Presbyterian Hospital between April 2014 and January 2015. S. aureus isolates were characterized by their antimicrobial susceptibility, the presence of genes encoding for Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) and toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) and further differentiated by spa-typing and multi-locus-sequence-typing.


Out of 544 children 120 (22.1%) were colonized with S. aureus, with highest carriage rates during the rainy seasons (27.2%; p = 0.007), in females aged 6-8 years (43.7%) and males aged 8-10 years (35.2%). The 123 isolates belonged to 35 different spa-types and 19 sequence types (ST) with the three most prevalent spa-types being t355 (n = 25), t84 (n = 18), t939 (n = 13), corresponding to ST152, ST15 and ST45. Two (2%) isolates were methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), classified as t1096 (ST152) and t4454 (ST45), and 16 (13%) were resistant to three or more different antimicrobial classes. PVL and TSST-1 were detected in 71 (58%) and 17 (14%) isolates respectively.


S. aureus carriage among Ghanaian children seems to depend on age, sex and seasonality. While MRSA rates are low, the high prevalence of PVL is of serious concern as these strains might serve not only as a source for severe invasive infections but may also transfer genes, leading to highly virulent MRSA clones.

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