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July 1972

Nursery Outbreak of Staphylococcal Scalded Skin Syndrome: Rapid Identification of the Epidemic Bacterial Strain

Author Affiliations

Torrance, Calif
From the Department of Pediatrics, Harbor General Hospital, UCLA School of Medicine (Drs. Anthony and Oh) and the Office of the Infection Control Nurse (Mrs. Giuliano), Harbor General Hospital, Torrance, Calif.

Am J Dis Child. 1972;124(1):41-44. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1972.02110130043006

Within a seven-day period, three infants born at Harbor General Hospital were readmitted at ages 5 to 13 days with signs of the staphylococcal scalded skin syndrome (two with toxic epidermal necrolysis and one with bullous impetigo). From all three infants, isolates of Staphylococcus aureus demonstrated bacteriocin-like activity against Staphylococcus 502A. A nurse in the newborn area was found to be a persistent nasal carrier of a Staphylococcus with bacteriocin-like activity. All strains with this activity were subsequently phage-typed as type 71. Because she was a possible source of the outbreak, the nurse-carrier was removed from the nursery and no subsequent cases occurred. The use of bacteriocin-like activity proved a simple and reliable marker of the epidemic staphylococcal strain in screening staphylococci from cases and carriers and in management of the outbreak.

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