Biologically speaking, Staphylococcus aureus carriage is a fact of life. Approximately 30% of the US population are asymptomatic nasal carriers of S aureus,1 indicating that S aureus is normal flora, at least for some. Unfortunately, nasal carriers are also at higher risk of S aureus infection. Up to 80% of those with S aureus infection harbor the same strain in the nose or elsewhere on the body,2 and the risk of S aureus infection in surgical patients who are carriers is approximately twice that of noncarriers.3 On the other hand, carriers develop antistaphylococcal antibodies4 that may be protective: the risk of death from bacteremia is lower in carriers than in noncarriers.5
Winston L, Chambers H. Coming Home With MRSA: Comment on “Carriage of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Home Care Settings”. Arch Intern Med. 2009;169(15):1379–1380. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2009.218
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