Original Research

Microbiologic characterisation of bacterial infections in children with atopic dermatitis

Nkosinathi O. Zwane, Josiah T. Masuka, Antoinette V. Chateau, Anisa Mosam
Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases | Vol 37, No 1 | a368 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajid.v37i1.368 | © 2022 Nkosinathi Owen Zwane, Josiah Tatenda Masuka, Antoinette Vanessa Chateau, Anisa Mosam | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 November 2021 | Published: 31 March 2022

About the author(s)

Nkosinathi O. Zwane, Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Josiah T. Masuka, Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Antoinette V. Chateau, Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Anisa Mosam, Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Patients with atopic dermatitis (AD), the commonest chronic inflammatory skin disease are often colonised and infected by Staphylococcus aureus. In this study, we aimed to determine the type and antibacterial sensitivities of the bacteria infecting eczematous lesions in children with AD and to recommend first-line antibiotic therapy.

Methods: A prospective study was conducted from June 2020 to June 2021 in children with AD presenting with a cutaneous infection at the King Edward hospital VIII outpatient dermatology clinic. Swabs were collected for microbial culture, confirming infections and assessing antibiotic sensitivity for infected sites.

Results: Ninety six children were recruited during the study period with a mean age of 4.3 ± 3.4 years. The commonest cause of bacterial infection was Staphylococcus aureus seen in 74 (77.1%) cases, followed by Staphylococcus aureus and Group A β-haemolytic streptococcus (GAS) co-infection in 22 (22.9%) cases. The majority of these infections were observed on the lower limbs in 50 (52.08%) cases and in moderate 37 (38.5%) cases and severe eczema cases of 38 (39.6%) in AD. There was no gender predilection. Staphylococcus aureus was sensitive to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid in 57 (77.0%) cases, cloxacillin in 53 (71.6%) cases and clindamycin in 24 (32.4%) cases, whereas GAS was mostly sensitive to ampicillin in 10 (45.5%) cases. No swabs retained a resistant strain.

Conclusion: Staphylococcus aureus is the commonest bacterial cause of cutaneous infection in children with AD in our setting. Amoxicillin-clavulanic acid and cloxacillin remain the most sensitive therapeutic options for this infection, however, a larger study is required to explore resistance strains, if any, in our setting.


Keywords

atopic dermatitis; children; bacterial infection; Staphylococcus; Streptococcus; antibiotics

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