Background: Nasal carriage of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL)-positive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is associated with community associated disease. The risk factors for and characteristics of PVL-positive MRSA colonization in the healthy pediatric population are not well understood.
Methods: Anterior nares cultures were obtained from healthy children ≤14 years of age presenting for health maintenance visits or attending 1 of 8 kindergartens during a 3-year period. A case-control study and molecular typing studies were performed.
Results: A total of 131 (8.1%) of 1615 children had nares cultures positive for MRSA, and 25 (1.5%) were colonized with PVL-positive MRSA. Nasal colonization of PVL-positive MRSA was significantly higher in 2006 than in 2004 (2.8% versus 0.7%; P = 0.006). By multivariate analysis, antibiotic use during the past 12 months (odds ratio, 29.37; 95% confidence interval, 10.72–80.50; P < 0.001) was the major risk factor associated with PVL-positive MRSA colonization in healthy children. Comparison of hospital MRSA strains with the community colonization strains by antimicrobial susceptibility testing, macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin resistance gene testing, staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec typing, exotoxin profiling, and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis typing revealed that clonal spread of PVL-positive MRSA distinct from clinical hospital strains contributed to the high PVL-positive MRSA burden in the community.
Conclusions: Nasal PVL-positive MRSA colonization in healthy children with no relationship to the hospital setting has increased significantly in the past 3 years, suggesting that it may be a major factor in the emergence of community-acquired MRSA disease in Taiwan. Previous antibiotic use was associated with PVL-positive MRSA colonization.