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November 1981

Increased Pharyngeal Bacterial Colonization During Viral Illness

Author Affiliations

From the Infectious Disease Research Laboratory, General Medical Research and the Infectious Disease Program, Department of Medicine, Veterans Administration Medical Center, and the Department of Medicine, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan.

Arch Intern Med. 1981;141(12):1599-1603. doi:10.1001/archinte.1981.00340130043013

• The oropharyngeal colonization by Staphylococcus aureus and Gram-negative bacilli (GNB) and its duration were studied in 89 house staff officers, with biweekly quantitative cultures for 11 months. Eighty-two episodes of upper respiratory tract infection were documented during the study period. The oropharyngeal colonization during illness-free periods ranged from 12% to 18% for GNB and from 5% to 14% for S aureus. During an episode of upper respiratory tract infection, the oropharyngeal colonization of GNB increased to 60%; S aureus colonization increased to 43%. The colonization with both GNB and S aureus was transient and lasted for approximately two weeks. The increased colonization by S aureus and GNB during a viral respiratory tract infection may be a factor contributing to the increased risk of pneumonia in patients with this condition.

(Arch Intern Med 1981;141:1599-1603)