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J Hosp Infect. 2006 Oct;64(2):177-83. Epub 2006 Sep 5.

Molecular epidemiology of meticillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci in a Swedish county hospital: evidence of intra- and interhospital clonal spread.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Ostersund Hospital, Ostersund, Sweden.


During a 10-month period in 2003, consecutive routine clinical cultures from patients treated in 15 different ward units in a Swedish county hospital were screened for the presence of meticillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS). Genetic similarity between isolates was analysed using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). The results were compared with multi-drug-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis isolated previously at the tertiary referral hospital. In total, 428 isolates of CNS were identified, of which 188 (44%) were meticillin resistant. Three clusters (Groups A, B and C) of S. epidermidis, each consisting of more than 10 isolates, with a PFGE-DNA similarity of >90% were identified. The strains in Groups A and B (N=15 and N=13, respectively), which were generally resistant to gentamicin, co-trimoxazole and clindamycin, originated from 24 patients, of whom 21 had been treated in the intensive care unit (ICU) before sampling. The third cluster, Group C, involved 14 isolates from 14 patients. Only two of these patients had stayed at the ICU, and all for less than one day. Isolates in Group C were less resistant than those in Groups A and B. Isolates belonging to Group A showed an identical PFGE profile compared with multi-drug-resistant S. epidermidis isolated from patients at the referral hospital. This study demonstrated the persistence and spread of meticillin-resistant clones of CNS within the county hospital, especially in the ICU, and possible interhospital spread of a multi-drug-resistant clone between the county and referral hospitals.

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