OBJECTIVE - The study aimed to assess whether maternal colonization with Staphylococcus aureus during pregnancy or at delivery was associated with infant staphylococcal colonization.
METHODS - For this prospective cohort study, women were enrolled at 34 to 37 weeks of gestation between 2007 and 2009. Nasal and vaginal swabs for culture were obtained at enrollment; nasal swabs were obtained from women and their infants at delivery and 2- and 4-month postbirth visits. Logistic regression was used to determine whether maternal colonization affected infant colonization.
RESULTS - Overall, 476 and 471 mother-infant dyads had complete data for analysis at enrollment and delivery, respectively. Maternal methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA) colonization occurred in 10% to 17% of mothers, with the highest prevalence at enrollment. Infant MRSA colonization peaked at 2 months of age, with 20.9% of infants colonized. Maternal staphylococcal colonization at enrollment increased the odds of infant staphylococcal colonization at birth (odds ratio; 95% confidence interval: 4.8; 2.4-9.5), hospital discharge (2.6; 1.3-5.0), at 2 months of life (2.7; 1.6-4.3), and at 4 months of life (2.0; 1.1-3.5). Similar results were observed for maternal staphylococcal colonization at delivery. Fifty maternal-infant dyads had concurrent MRSA colonization: 76% shared isolates of the same pulsed-field type, and 30% shared USA300 isolates. Only 2 infants developed staphylococcal disease.
CONCLUSIONS - S aureus colonization (including MRSA) was extremely common in this cohort of maternal-infant pairs. Infants born to mothers with staphylococcal colonization were more likely to be colonized, and early postnatal acquisition appeared to be the primary mechanism.