BACKGROUND: Hand eczema (HE) is frequently associated with Staphylococcus aureus; however, its role in the pathogenesis of HE is poorly understood.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the temporal variation in S aureus subtypes, ie, clonal complex (CC) types, on the hands and relate it to S aureus colonization in the nose and severity in a cohort of HE patients.
METHODS: S aureus from the hands and nose of 50 adult HE patients and 50 controls was prospectively identified at 5 visits over 3 weeks.
RESULTS: S aureus was identified on the hands of 23 (46%) patients at 2 or more visits and on the hands of 1 control once. Of the HE patients with S aureus colonization, 78% had the same S aureus CC type over time. Twenty-one patients had the same S aureus CC type on the hands and in the nose. Persistent colonization was strongly related to an increased disease severity.
LIMITATIONS: A relatively small S aureus culture-positive population.
CONCLUSION: The temporal stability of S aureus CC type and high occurrence of the identical subtypes on the hands and in the nose imply that S aureus colonization in patients with HE is of a more permanent nature. Taken together with the finding that persistent colonization and HE severity are clearly related, our results indicate that S aureus may contribute to the perpetuating course of HE.