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Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2012 Nov;74(3):224-9. doi: 10.1016/j.diagmicrobio.2012.06.029. Epub 2012 Aug 15.

Antimicrobial susceptibility and biofilm formation of Staphylococcus epidermidis small colony variants associated with prosthetic joint infection.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


We determined the frequency of isolation of non-aureus staphylococcal small colony variants (SCVs) from 31 patients with staphylococcal prosthetic joint infection (PJI) and described the antimicrobial susceptibility, auxotrophy, and biofilm-forming capacity of these SCVs. Eleven non-aureus SCVs were recovered, all of which were Staphylococcus epidermidis, and none of which was auxotrophic for hemin, menadione, or thymidine. Aminoglycoside resistance was detected in 5. Two were proficient, and 7 were poor, biofilm formers. With passage on antimicrobial free media, we observed a fluctuating phenotype in 3 isolates. We also noted a difference in antimicrobial susceptibility of different morphology isolates recovered from the same joints despite similar pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns. Our findings suggest S. epidermidis SCVs are common in PJI, and while they have a similar appearance to S. aureus SCVs, they do not necessarily share such characteristics as aminoglycoside resistance; auxotrophy for hemin, menadione, or thymidine; or enhanced biofilm formation. We also underscore the importance of antimicrobial susceptibility testing of all morphologies of isolates recovered from PJI.

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