While general recognition of the emergence of antibiotic-resistant, coagulase-positive staphylococci in both hospitals1-4 and communities5,6 has led to extensive reinvestigation of this organism, our knowledge of its epidemiology in the nonhospital environment remains inadequate. The presence of resistant Staphylococcus aureus in the community has been related by some7,8 to recent hospitalization and treatment with antibiotics. A recent Australian study showed that 64% of S. aureus strains isolated from the purulent lesions of patients who were seen in doctors' offices were resistant to penicillin.9 Others,10-13 who have studied people who were receiving continuous prophylactic antibiotic medication, have reported that such individuals become carriers of resistant organisms more often than does the population at large.
In an effort to determine more accurately the relation between coagulase-positive staphylococci and non-hospital-centered persons, we have been conducting several long-term surveillance programs in different population groups. A preliminary report14 of