Staphylococcus aureus Decolonization Study (SuDS)

Staphylococcus aureus (“Staph”) is a common germ that occasionally causes boils or abscesses; rarely it may cause more serious infections. It often lives in the nose or on the skin of healthy people. People who have had a Staph infection may be more likely to get another infection. This germ can be passed through person-to-person contact or sharing personal items such as brushes or bath towels. Thus, even if a patient with a Staph infection is “cured” with antibiotic therapy, they may have already passed the germ to another family member, who could then pass it back and reinfect the patient.

The goal of this study is to learn whether the use of special soaps and ointments by the entire household, rather than only the patient with the Staph infection, will be more effective in eliminating the germ from the skin and nose and whether this may help to prevent future infections.

Who can be screened for this study?

Patients ages six months – 21 years seeing their doctor for an abscess or boil.

What will happen at the doctor’s office?

  • Your doctor will use a cotton swab to take a sample from the inside tip of your child’s nose, armpits, and groin.
  • You will give permission to allow the study team to review your child’s medical record and to contact you in the future.

Who is eligible to be enrolled in the study?

Patients from whom the Staph germ grew from their abscess or boil – AND – grew the Staph germ from the nose, underarm, or groin.

Who is not eligible?

  • Infants less than six months old
  • Patients on dialysis or who stayed in a long-term care facility over the past year
  • Patients who have had an adverse reaction to chlorhexidine or mupirocin in the past
  • Patients using chlorhexidine or mupirocin in the past one month

What is involved in participation?

  • After completing a course of antibiotics for the current skin infection, you and your child will return to St. Louis Children’s Hospital or your pediatrician’s office to complete a detailed questionnaire. This visit will last ~45 minutes. At this time we will provide a special soap (chlorhexidine) and ointment (mupirocin) to try to eliminate the germ from your child’s skin or nose. These products will be used for five days.
    1. In one group, these measures will be performed by the patient only.
    2. In a second group, all household members will be asked to perform these measures.
  • Before performing the decolonization process, we would like to know how many members in your household are also carrying the Staph germ. Prior to your first visit, we will send you swabs to obtain specimens from the nose, underarm, and groin of each household member.
  • You will then return for several follow-up visits: 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after you start the study. At these visits your child will have nose, armpit, and groin swabs taken and you will complete a brief survey about repeat infections. These visits will last ~15 minutes.


You will receive $20 for each return visit (up to a total of $100 for 5 visits over the 12 month study period).


If you have questions about this study or are interested in participation, please contact us:
Voice: 314-747-6296.