Knowledge of current trends in the bacteriology is valuable in informing antibiotic choices.
This study reviews bacterial cultures of a large series of breast abscesses to determine whether there has been a change in the causative organisms during the era of increasing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Analysis was undertaken of all breast abscesses treated in a single unit over 2003 - 2006, including abscess type, bacterial culture, antibiotic sensitivity and resistance patterns.
One hundred and ninety cultures were obtained (32.8% lactational abscess, 67.2% nonlactational). 83% yielded organisms.
Staphylococcus aureus was the commonest organism isolated (51.3%). Of these, 8.6% were MRSA. Other common organisms included mixed anaerobes (13.7%), and anaerobic cocci (6.3%). Lactational abscesses were significantly more likely to be caused by S. aureus (p < 0.05). Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus rates were not statistically different between lactational and nonlactational abscess groups.
Appropriate antibiotic choices are of great importance in the community management of breast abscess. Ideally, microbial cultures should be obtained to institute targeted therapy but we recommend the continued use of flucloxacillin with or without metronidazole (or amoxicillin-clavulanate as a single preparation) as initial empirical therapy.