, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 225-229
Date: 31 May 2011

Screening of Staphylococcus aureus nasal strains isolated from medical students for toxin genes

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Three hundred twenty-one students (156 students with no clinical exposure and 165 students with clinical exposure) were screened for nasal colonization by Staphylococcus aureus; 20.9% of students were S. aureus nasal carriers, and 40.3% of S. aureus isolates harbored toxin genes. The most prevalent genes were tst (15.0 %) and sec (13.4 %). Isolates with multiple genes were only found among clinical students (p = 0.045). Six of 11 PFGE clones were positive for toxin genes. Methicillin-resistant (MRSA) isolates were only detected in the clinical students (4.5 %). The exposure of students to the hospital environment neither radically increased S. aureus nasal carriage, nor the frequency of clinically important toxin gene presence, but it could have influenced the positive selection of toxigenic MRSA strains.