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Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2000 Feb;36(2):131-6.

Oral fusidic acid fails to eradicate methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization and results in emergence of fusidic acid-resistant strains.

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Section of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine and Department of Laboratory Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.


Carriers of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in hospital constitute a reservoir of infections and increase the risk of bacteremia and wound infection. In this prospective randomized trial, we tested the effectiveness of oral fusidic acid for eradication of MRSA colonization. From March 1997 through February 1998, patients with MRSA colonization in medical intensive care units in a large urban teaching hospital were randomly assigned to receive fusidic acid 500 mg q8h orally for 7 days or no anti-staphylococcal treatment. Twenty-three MRSA carriers were found during the study period and 16 were eligible for evaluation; six of them received fusidic acid. MRSA colonization was cleared in only two of the six patients with fusidic acid treatment, and later recurred in one of them. MRSA disappeared for 1, 2, 7, 7, and 8 weeks, respectively, in five of the 10 patients without treatment. MRSA persisted in the other five cases. Although all MRSA isolates found in the initial surveillance culture were susceptible to fusidic acid (MIC </= 2 microg/mL), seven isolates from two patients after fusidic acid treatment demonstrated high fusidic acid resistance (MIC 64 to >/= 256 microg/mL). Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis pattern analysis showed that the resistant strains were genetically identical to the susceptible strains isolated from the same patient before fusidic acid treatment, in both cases. However, genetically distinct strains colonized in the same individual during follow-up were found in four out of 16 cases. We conclude that oral fusidic acid alone is not suitable for eradication of MRSA colonization, and may lead to the emergence of resistant strains.

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