Br J Dermatol 2018 Oct 24;179(4):951-958. Epub 2018 Jul 24.
School of Medicine, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, KY11 9TF, U.K.
Background: Carriage rates of Staphylococcus aureus on affected skin in atopic dermatitis (AD) are approximately 70%. Increasing disease severity during flares and overall disease severity correlate with increased burden of S. aureus. Treatment in AD therefore often targets S. aureus with topical and systemic antimicrobials.
Objectives: To determine whether antimicrobial sensitivities and genetic determinants of resistance differed in S. aureus isolates from the skin of children with AD and healthy child nasal carriers.
Methods: In this case-control study, we compared S. aureus isolates from children with AD (n = 50) attending a hospital dermatology department against nasal carriage isolates from children without skin disease (n = 49) attending a hospital emergency department for noninfective conditions. Using whole genome sequencing we generated a phylogenetic framework for the isolates based on variation in the core genome, then compared antimicrobial resistance phenotypes and genotypes between disease groups.
Results: Staphylococcus aureus from cases and controls had on average similar numbers of phenotypic resistances per isolate. Case isolates differed in their resistance patterns, with fusidic acid resistance (Fus ) being significantly more frequent in AD (P = 0·009). The genetic basis of Fus also differentiated the populations, with chromosomal mutations in fusA predominating in AD (P = 0·049). Analysis revealed that Fus evolved multiple times and via multiple mechanism in the population. Carriage of plasmid-derived qac genes, which have been associated with reduced susceptibility to antiseptics, was eight times more frequent in AD (P = 0·016).
Conclusions: The results suggest that strong selective pressure drives the emergence and maintenance of specific resistances in AD.