Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers

Staphylococcus aureus community-onset pneumonia in patients admitted to children's hospitals during autumn and winter of 2006–2007

A. J. KALLENa1a2 c1, C. REEDa2a3, M. PATTONa3a4, K. E. ARNOLDa5, L. FINELLIa3 and J. HAGEMANa1

a1 Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, National Center for Preparedness, Detection, and Control of Infectious Diseases, Atlanta, GA, USA

a2 Epidemic Intelligence Service, Office of Workforce and Career Development, Atlanta, GA, USA

a3 Influenza Division, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Atlanta, GA, USA

a4 CDC Experience Fellowship, Office of Workforce and Career Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA

a5 Georgia Department of Human Resources, Division of Public Health, Atlanta, GA, USA


Staphylococcus aureus is a relatively uncommon cause of community-onset pneumonia (COP) that may complicate influenza infection. We reviewed admissions to children's hospitals to describe more systematically this entity. Records of patients hospitalized at three children's hospitals between 1 October 2006 and 30 April 2007 who had a positive S. aureus culture from a sterile site or respiratory specimen were reviewed and data were abstracted for episodes of primary S. aureus COP. Overall, 30 episodes met criteria for primary S. aureus COP; 12 (41%) involved methicillin-resistant S. aureus. Patients in 11 (37%) episodes were seen by a healthcare provider for their symptoms prior to hospital admission; three received an antimicrobial, none of which had activity against the S. aureus isolated. Mechanical ventilation was required in 21 (70%) episodes; five (17%) patients died. When evaluating patients with severe COP, providers should be aware of the potential for S. aureus, including methicillin-resistant strains.

(Accepted November 09 2009)

(Online publication December 07 2009)


c1 Author for correspondence: Dr A. J. Kallen, 1600 Clifton Road NE, MS A-35, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA. (Email: AKallen@cdc.gov)