Nasal self-swabbing for estimating the prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus in the community

Jenny Gamblin, Johanna M. Jefferies, Scott Harris, Nusreen Ahmad, Peter Marsh, Saul N. Faust, Simon Fraser, Michael Moore, Paul Roderick, Iain Blair, Stuart C. Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Staphylococcus aureus remains a significant cause of morbidity and mortality and, therefore, a burden on healthcare systems. Our aim was to estimate the current rate of nasal S. aureus carriage in the general population and to determine the feasibility of nasal self-swabbing as a means of detection. Two thousand people (1200 adults and 800 children) from a single NHS general practice in Southampton, UK, were randomly selected from a general practice age sex register, stratified by age and sex, and invited to undertake nasal self-swabbing in their own home. Overall, 362 (32.5 %) swabs from adults and 168 (22 %) from children were returned. Responses were greater for adults and those of increased age, female gender and decreasing socioeconomic deprivation. The overall estimated practice carriage rate of S. aureus directly standardized for age sex was 28% [95% confidence interval (CI) 26.1-30.2%]. Carriage of meticillin-susceptible S. aureus was 27% (95% CI 26.1-30.2 %), whilst that of meticillinresistant S. aureus was 1.9% (95% CI 0.7-3.1 %). Although nasal self-swabbing rates were relatively low, they are comparable to other studies and may allow large population-based carriage studies to be undertaken at relatively low cost. Importantly, this study updates prevalence data for S. aureus carriage in the community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-440
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Medical Microbiology
Issue numberPART3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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