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A prospective comparison of the microbiologic safety of Merocel(R) versus NuGauze(R) nasal packing in 119 surgical patients is presented. Presurgical and postsurgical nasal cultures were obtained, analyzed, and compared. The importance of a preoperative nasal culture isolate of Toxic Shock Syndrome Toxin Number 1 (TSST-1) producing Staphylococcus aureus in predicting postoperative toxigenic S. aureus isolation and Toxic Shock Syndrome symptomatology is demonstrated. An in vitro comparison of the ability of NuGauze(R) and Merocel(R) to amplify TSST-1 production was performed.

(C) The American Laryngological, Rhinological & Otological Society, Inc.