Background: Nasal colonization by bacterial pathogens is linked to the risk of invasive infections, which are a leading cause of mortality in children globally. While viruses are the primary cause of respiratory tract infections (RTIs), bacteria contribute to localized infections such as sinusitis, pneumonia, and meningitis. Most colonization remains asymptomatic but can become invasive in vulnerable hosts. Study Objective: The goal of this study was to screen for asymptomatic nasal colonization by potential bacterial pathogens and analyze the correlation between carriage rate and various socio-demographic factors.
Patients and Method: This cross-sectional study involved healthy children to examine nasal carriage of bacterial pathogens. The study was conducted at the laboratory unit in Al-Zahra Teaching Hospital for Maternity and Children in Al Najaf city, Iraq, from January to October 2016. Nasal swabs were tested for five prevalent bacterial pathogens: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Haemophilus parainfluenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, and Staphylococcus aureus. A total of 100 healthy children (1- < 12 years old) were included, and bacteria were identified using standard techniques. Results: The overall carriage rate of nasal pathogens was 33%, with Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus accounting for 11% and 22%, respectively. The study found no statistically significant differences between age, gender, residency, social level, and attendance concerning the carriage of these two bacteria.
Conclusions: The study revealed nasal colonization of common pathogenic bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae. However, no significant relationships were found between nasal swab results and age, gender, residency, social level, and attendance, as all p-values were greater than 0.05.