a1 Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science, Adelaide, South Australia
The nasal carriage of 407 mothers before, during and after admission to a maternity hospital and that of their babies during and after hospital stay was investigated together with the nasal carriage by the hospital staff.
The nasal carrier rate among mothers admitted to hospital was 38%, 40% of these strains being resistant to penicillin.
The nasal carrier rate among the nursing staff was 38 and 72% of these were resistant to penicillin.
If a population is swabbed only once approximately 25% of the carriers will be missed. Those showing slight carriage were no more likely to be missed than those showing heavy carriage. The concentration of organisms in the nose is evidently varying continuously.
Heavy carriers are no more likely to transmit than light carriers and it is therefore not right to report on the profusion or otherwise of growth if that implies a greater chance of transmission.
The biggest increase in resistance among nursing staff strains occurred in the non-typable group which could be explained by resistance to phage developing concurrent with resistance to antibiotics.
The difference in phage-distribution between patient and staff strains centred in group II which formed 19% of patient strains but only 7% of hospital strains.
The carrier rate was no higher for those with a history of hospital admission within 12 months or without a history of staphylococcal sepsis.
Those giving a history of penicillin therapy had the same resistance rate as those without a history of such therapy.
(Received August 22 1960)