Tuberculosis & Airborne Disease Weekly

Copyright 2000 Information Access Company. All rights reserved

Charles W. Henderson

Tuesday, April 4, 2000

Staphylococcus Rash in Babies Linked to Health Care Workers

2000 APR 4 - ( --

An outbreak of Staphylococcus aureus pustulous rash in a group of newborn, circumcised babies has been linked to medical workers in the neonatal nursery.

The outbreak occurred in the newborn nursery of a 150-bed naval hospital in eastern North Carolina and lasted from August to January of 1999.

"Cases were newborn males who had undergone a circumcision procedure and post-discharge required anitmicrobial treatment for severe postulous diaper rash," reported K.K. Hoffmann and colleagues. Seventeen cases out of 36 total were cultured, and all 17 showed methicillin-sensitive, erythromycin-resistant S. aureus.

Researchers could not find an inanimate reservoir for the S. aureus, but they did find initial control measures, including aseptic technique and instrument sterilization procedures, were not effective. Regulations were amended to include mandatory glove wearing for diaper changes and they limited the number of health care workers involved in post-circumcision care to one.

Anterior nasal swabs were used to culture all the medical personnel; 14 showed S. aureus positive cultures. "Pulse field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was performed on 13 of the 17 case isolates. All 13 case isolates were identical. All 14 HCWs [health care workers] identified with S. aureus were compared to the >13 cases by PFGE, and three HCWs matched identically," reported researchers.

They also found one of the three identically matched HCWs had a chronic cough and another had concealed dermatitis.

"This suggests that these HCWs were disseminators in light of the prolonged nature of the outbreak," said Hoffmann et al. "Antimicrobial decolonization was instituted for the HCWs and there was one additional case in March. In conclusion, HCWs identified by DNA testing may have represented the reservoir of infection in this outbreak."

The findings were presented at the 4th Decennial International Conference on Nosocomial and Healthcare-Associated Infections, held in Atlanta, Georgia. The study was titled, "Neonatal Staphylococcus aureus Pustulous Rash Outbreak Linked by Molecular Typing to Colonized Healthcare Workers."

Search <> for 23 additional articles about Staphylococcus bacteria.

Key points reported in this study are:

This article was prepared by Tuberculosis & Communicable Disease Weekly editors from staff and other reports.

Copyright 2000, Tuberculosis & Communicable Disease Weekly via

[CIRP Note: See the article 36 Circumcised Boys Infected with Staphyloccus in Hospital for more information.]

Cite as:
(File revised 25 April 2000)

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