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Skin infections are highly prevalent in many Australian Aboriginal communities. The study aimed to determine the prevalence of group A streptococcus (GAS) and Staphylococcus aureus (S.aureus) in skin sores of Indigenous people living in an urban setting.
The project involved a cross-sectional study of 173 children and youths attending the Wuchopperen Clinic (Cairns) for treatment of skin infections. Participants were interviewed using a structured questionnaire, and a skin lesion swab obtained. The median age was 5.3 years, with 42% identifying themselves as Torres Strait Islanders and 34% as Aboriginal.
The project results will inform:
The results of the study suggest a significant diversity of emm-types of GAS associated with skin lesions in Indigenous patients living in an urban setting. This would be consistent with findings in remote communities in Northern Territory. Given that the majority of the Indigenous population of Queensland live in cities, further investigation of the prevalence and antibiotic susceptibility patterns of ‘S. aureus’ isolates to guide selection of antibiotic therapy is warranted.
Patricia Valery & Mark Wenitong
Queensland Institute of Medical Research