Sustainable reduction of nasal colonization and hand contamination with Staphylococcus aureus in food handlers, 2002-2011

J. Ho, M. Boost, Margaret May O'Donoghue

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


A longitudinal study of nasal colonization and hand contamination of food handlers with Staphylococcus aureus commenced in 2002 prior to the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome. In the follow-up in 2003 when hygiene measures were strictly implemented, significant reductions in carriage were observed. To investigate if this change was sustained, nasal and hand carriage rates were compared between the earlier studies and a further sampling in 2011. The initial nasal carriage rate was 35% and hand contamination 41·2%, decreasing to 23·5% and 11·6%, respectively in 2003 (P < 0·001). In 2011, nasal carriage was similar to 2003 (22·9%), while hand contamination dropped further to 3·7% (P < 0·001). Spa-typing revealed 39 types in 2002 and 42 in 2011. This study reveals that the marked reduction in colonization had been sustained. This may be attributed to reduced opportunities for spread due to enhanced hygiene and reinforces its importance for control of disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1751-1760
Number of pages10
JournalEpidemiology and Infection
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • aureus
  • Colonization
  • food handler
  • S

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Infectious Diseases

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