Patients with diabetes more likely to be staphylococcal carriers

STAPHYLOCOCCUS aureus should be considered as a cause of common infections in patients with diabetes, as more than a third carry the pathogen, West Australian researchers say.

Data from the Fremantle Diabetes Study presented at the Australian Diabetes Society conference in Perth last week showed that in an unselected sample of 410 patients with diabetes, 39% had a nasal/axillary swab positive for S. aureus.

However, only five of the 160 patients who were positive had methicillin-resistant S. aureus. 

The authors said S. aureus carriage was higher than the general population, where colonisation of the anterior nares was about 20–30%.

Study author Professor Timothy Davis, from the school of medicine and pharmacology at Fremantle Hospital and the University of Western Australia, said changes in immune function in diabetes patients could account for the higher rate of S. aureus infection compared with the normal population.