Analysis of the Staphylococcus aureus houshold colonization profile in Starr County, Texas

Katherine Garrett, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Staphylococcus aureus is one of the most common causes of skin and soft tissue infections in both health care and community settings. Although an estimated 20% of the population is persistently colonized in the anterior nares, transmission of S. aureus in community-based populations is not completely understood. We therefore conducted a household aggregation study by defining S. aureus carriage phenotypes (persistent, intermittent, and non-carriers) in the context of respective clonal clusters (CC) in households from Starr County, TX. Nasal swabs were collected from a cohort of 902 residents and screened for the presence of S. aureus. The average age of the participants was 44±14.1 years and 75% of the cohort was female. The majority of the study population reported Mexico as their country of birth (70.9%) followed by the United States (28.8%). By comparing carriage phenotypes we determined that households occupied by persistent or intermittent carriers were significantly more likely to be colonized by the same S. aureus strains with 100% of methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strains identified in persistent carriers. Additionally, ever carriers within the same 2-mile radius were found to be harboring high proportions of the same strains, indicating that the transmission of some S. aureus both in and around the home is both present and complex. As antibiotic resistant S. aureus strains pervade in community settings, it is essential to better understand risk factors for colonization and mechanisms of transmission.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Garrett, Katherine, "Analysis of the Staphylococcus aureus houshold colonization profile in Starr County, Texas" (2016). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10131749.