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Eur J Epidemiol. 2003;18(2):139-45.

Distribution of mecA among methicillin-resistant clinical staphylococcal strains isolated at hospitals in Naples, Italy.

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Dipartimento di Fisiologia Generale ed Ambientale, Sezione Igiene e Microbiologia, Facoltà di Scienze Biologiche, Università Federico II, Napoli, Italy.


Two hundred and twenty strains of Staphylococcus isolated in Naples, Italy, were surveyed for the distribution of the mecA, the structural gene for penicillin-binding protein 2a, which is the genetic determinant for methicillin-resistance in staphylococci. Screening by a cloned mecA, revealed that of 220 strains, 43 were methicillin-resistant (19.5%) and 177 were methicillin-susceptible (80.5%). Among the 43 resistant strains 23 (53.5%) carried mecA in their genome and 20 (46.5%) did not carry mecA, in spite of their resistance to methicillin. Every group was submitted to the AP-PCR profiling. A quantitative analysis of the patterns divided strains into four different clusters for methicillin-resistant mecA-negative and two different clusters for methicillin-resistant mecA-positive with primer 1, while no clusters were noted with primer 7. We conclude that these clinical isolates from our area, were not found to belong to a single clone, although the predominance of four methicillin-resistant mecA-negative genotypes were noted.

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