Objectives: Participant-collected serial nasal swabs would be a cost-efficient feature of prospective population-based microbiological studies. We examined the feasibility of serial anterior nasal self-swabbing for Staphylococcus aureus detection in a prospective population-based study in Braunschweig, Germany, and assessed the impact of three interventions on participation and compliance. Methods: Two thousand twenty-six inhabitants were selected randomly from the resident registries and asked to self-collect a nasal swab monthly from July 2012 to January 2013 and return it by mail. The swabs were tested for the presence of S. aureus. Participation and compliance were assessed in four study groups (incremental cash incentive, participation in a lottery, reminder by mail, and control group without incentive or reminder). Results: Baseline participation was highest in the cash incentive group (24%; 123/504) and lowest in the reminder group (16%; 83/509). Approximately 90% of the participants in all groups returned the swabs each month, demonstrating high compliance irrespective of the intervention. Laboratory analyses showed that most swabs were usable for bacteriological studies. S. aureus was detected at the expected frequency of 20-27%. Conclusions: Home-based serial nasal self-swabbing proved to be feasible and highly acceptable and promises to be a cost-efficient tool for large-scale prospective population-based studies on bacterial infection or colonization. © 2014 The Authors.
Akmatov, M. K., Mehraj, J., Gatzemeier, A., Strömpl, J., Witte, W., Krause, G., & Pessler, F. (2014). Serial home-based self-collection of anterior nasal swabs to detect Staphylococcus aureus carriage in a randomized population-based study in Germany. International Journal of Infectious Diseases, 25, 4–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2014.01.021