RECENTLY, controlled clinical trials1 demonstrated that preventive antimicrobial drugs reduced the incidence of postoperative infection following potentially contaminated surgical operations performed at the Barnes Hospital in St. Louis. Widespread use of this technique provokes the possibility that an increase might occur in the rate hospitalized patients become temporary or permanent nasal carriers of Staphylococcus aureus, or that patients already nasal carriers of S aureus might replace a relatively nonvirulent strain with a virulent one. This theoretical consideration is of importance: (1) because of possible increased risk of cross infection, and (2) because there is evidence that nasal carriers of S aureus are more likely to develop postoperative wound infections than are noncarriers.2-4
The following data were collected in an attempt to determine whether there was additional risk of acquisition of the nasal S aureus carrier state as a consequence of chemoprophylaxis.
The theoretical aspects of preventive antimicrobial
Bernard HR, Cole WR, Gravens DL, Gray VC. Chemoprophylaxis of Postoperative Surgical InfectionThe Effect Upon Nasal Carriage of Staphylococcus aureas. Arch Surg. 1968;96(3):476-482. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1968.01330210154030