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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2005 Mar;11(3):214-20.

Low prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus with reduced susceptibility to glycopeptides in Belgian hospitals.

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Hôpital Erasme, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Laboratoire de Référence MRSA, Microbiology, 808 Route de Lennik, 1070-Brussels, Belgium.


Staphylococcus aureus strains with decreased susceptibility to glycopeptides (GISA) have been associated with increased risk of glycopeptide treatment failure. To assess the prevalence of these strains in hospitalised patients in Belgium, 455 methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) isolates collected in 2001 were screened by two assays: (i) growth on vancomycin agar screen (VAS; brain heart infusion agar (BHI) + vancomycin 6 mg/L); and (ii) a synergy/antagonism test with aztreonam/cefazolin on Mu3 agar (BHI + vancomycin 3 mg/mL). Isolates growing on VAS or Mu3 agar were characterised further by analysis of population susceptibility profiles. MICs of glycopeptides were determined by agar dilution, broth microdilution and Etest (low and high inocula) methods. The isolates were genotyped by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and determination of staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) type. No GISA isolates were found. Three (0.7%) hetero-vancomycin intermediate S. aureus (hVISA) and ten (2.2%) hetero-teicoplanin intermediate S. aureus (hTISA) isolates were identified by population analysis. All but one hetero-GISA isolate belonged to either epidemic PFGE group A/SCCmec type I (69%) or PFGE group D/SCCmec type I (23%), both of which were resistant to gentamicin. The sensitivity and specificity for the detection of hetero-GISA by the two assays were 15.4% and 99.8%, respectively, for VAS, and 84.6% and 95.9%, respectively, for Mu3. The data indicated that hetero-GISA strains were uncommon among Belgian MRSA isolates from hospitalised patients. Use of Mu3 agar was more sensitive, but less specific, than VAS as a screening method.

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