Upper respiratory tract is one of the commonest sites for microbial colonization. The colonized individuals are at risk of infections and can be a source of transmission of pathogens. Medical students are frequently exposed to a variety of infectious agents and more likely to get colonized by them. This study was aimed to determine the prevalence and to compare the colonization rates of nasal and pharyngeal bacterial pathogens among preclinical and clinical sciences medical students.
This cross-sectional study was conducted among 100 preclinical and 100 clinical sciences medical students. Isolation, identification, and antibiotic susceptibility testing of the isolates were performed by standard microbiological techniques.
The nasal colonization by S. aureus and MRSA was 35% (70/200) and 19.5% (39/200), respectively. The nasal colonization by S. aureus and MRSA was significantly higher among clinical sciences students as compared to preclinical sciences students. Pharyngeal colonization by Haemophilus influenzae was significantly higher among clinical sciences students as compared to preclinical sciences students. The pharyngeal colonization by beta-hemolytic streptococci (nongroup A) was higher among preclinical sciences students than clinical sciences students.
The nasal colonization by S. aureus and MRSA was higher among clinical sciences students. Pharyngeal colonization by potential bacterial pathogens was higher among clinical sciences students than preclinical students. Periodic screening of MRSA and potential throat pathogens of clinical sciences students and may reduce the incidences of nosocomial transmission of pathogens.