Clearance of nasal Staphylococcus aureus colonization with triple antibiotic ointment

Elizabeth M. Grossman, Shivani Nanda, Jennifer R.S. Gordon, Meghan Dubina, Alfred W. Rademaker, Dennis P. West, Peter A. Lio*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: The prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus colonization of healthcare workers is reported at 30%, with colonization rates for methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA) reported between 2.0% and 8.5% among industrialized nations. The anterior nares are the most frequent colonization site. Mupirocin is the standard of care for nasal S aureus decolonization, with decolonization rates as high as 90%. Staphyloccocal resistance to mupirocin has been described, requiring additional management strategies. In certain situations, triple antibiotic ointment (TAO) may be a suitable alternative for elimination of nasal S aureus colonization. Observations: Adult healthcare workers within an academic-centered hospital (n=216) were screened via nasal swab with culture for S aureus colonization. Forty-five subjects (20.8%) screened positive for S aureus; of these subjects, 3 (1.4%) were positive for MRSA. Of the 45 subjects with positive cultures, 30 completed 5 days of twice-daily intranasal TAO application. One week after treatment, all 30 subjects were reswabbed; 16 (53.3%) showed evidence of decolonization on repeat culture. Conclusions: The rate of S aureus colonization of healthcare workers in our study is lower than published rates in industrialized nations. Intranasal application of TAO may be a viable option for eradication of nasal colonization by methicillin-susceptible S aureus in environments where mupirocin-resistant bacterial strains become more prevalent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1490-1492
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Drugs in Dermatology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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