Epidemiology and Infection

Short Report

Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage rate and associated risk factors in individuals in the community

M. A. HALABLABa1 c1, S. M. HIJAZIa2, M. A. FAWZIa2 and G. F. ARAJa3

a1 College of Science and Information Systems, Hariri Canadian University, Damour, Lebanon

a2 Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology, Beirut Arab University, Beirut, Lebanon

a3 Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, American University of Beirut Medical Center, Beirut, Lebanon


The increasing prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strains together with their disease impact on hospital patients and individuals in the community has posed a major challenge to healthcare workers. This study examined the prevalence of S. aureus nasal carriage, antimicrobial susceptibility patterns, and possible risk factors in the community. Of 500 studied subjects (aged from 6 to 65 years) in Lebanon, the overall S. aureus nasal carriage rate was 38·4%, the highest (57·1%) being in children aged 6–10 years. Only eight individuals (1·6%) were carriers of MRSA. Risk factors for S. aureus nasal colonization were male gender, young age, contact with healthcare workers, use of needle injections, and having asthma. A significant decrease in colonization rate was associated with nasal wash with water, use of nasal sprays, and the presence of acne. These findings may assist in better understanding of control measures to decrease nasal colonization with S. aureus in Lebanon and elsewhere.

(Accepted November 02 2009)

(Online publication November 27 2009)


c1 Author for correspondence: Professor M. A. Halablab, College of Science and Information Systems, Hariri Canadian University, P.O. Box 10 Damour, Chouf 2010, Lebanon. (Email: halablabma@hcu.edu.lb)