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AD patients are more likely to be colonized with S. aureus than healthy controls

Researchers, in a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology, report that on average, 70% of atopic dermatitis (AD) patients might be colonized with staphylococcus aureus bacteria (S. aureus, including methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)) on their skin lesions (Oct. 2016; 175(4):687-695).

“This review demonstrates the importance of colonization with S. aureus as a factor in the pathogenesis of atopic dermatitis. To decipher the exact role of S. aureus, studies using targeted antistaphylococcal therapy for the skin need to be done,” said the senior author of the study, Dr. Suzanne Pasmans, who was quoted in a press release. Dr. Pasmans is a professor of Pediatric Dermatology at the Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

During the systematic review, the researchers looked at 95 observational studies comprising over 9,000 patients. Of the 95 studies included in this investigation, the authors reported that 30 studies had a control group.

Findings revealed that the study participants with AD were more likely to be colonized with S. aureus than healthy controls [odds ratio (OR) 19.74, 95% confidence interval (CI) 10.88-35.81]. Overall, data also showed that the differences were smaller in the non-lesional skin (OR 7.77, 95% CI 3.82-15.82) and in the nose (OR 4.50, 95% CI 3.00-6.75).

The pooled prevalence of S. aureus colonization among patients was 70% for lesional skin, 39% for non-lesional skin and 62% for the nose. In lesional skin, meta-regression showed the prevalence of colonization increased with disease severity.

“Further evaluation of the mechanisms by which S. aureus influences inflammation is required in addition to the development of targeted strategies to decrease skin and nasal S. aureus load,” the authors wrote in the conclusion of their study.

The researchers of this report noted, however, that study heterogeneity should be taken into consideration when interpreting the results of this investigation.

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