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PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e49136. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049136. Epub 2012 Nov 12.

Difference in agr dysfunction and reduced vancomycin susceptibility between MRSA bacteremia involving SCCmec types IV/IVa and I-III.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwang-ju, Republic of Korea.



Dysfunction of agr, with reduced susceptibility or hetero-resistance to vancomycin, is thought to be associated with a worse outcome of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia (MRSAB). However, the difference in agr dysfunction according to the SCCmec type in MRSA infection is undetermined. We compared the prevalence of agr dysfunction, reduced vancomycin susceptibility and the outcomes of SCCmec IV/IVa and I-III MRSAB.


The study included 307 cases of MRSAB. SCCmec types were determined by multiplex PCR. The clinical and microbiological features and outcomes of 58 SCCmec IV/IVa MRSAB were compared with those of 249 SCCmec I-III MRSAB.


Compared with SCCmec I-III MRSAB, SCCmec IV/IVa MRSAB was associated with lower rates of agr dysfunction (3% vs. 43%), vancomycin minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) = 2 µg/mL (3% vs. 15%), and hetero-resistance to vancomycin (0% vs. 8%) (all P<0.05). However, the 30-day and S. aureus-related mortality in patients with SCCmec IV/IVa MRSAB were not different from those in patients with SCCmec I-III MRSAB in multivariate analyses (HR 1.168, 95% CI 0.705-1.938; HR 1.025, 95% CI 0.556-1.889).


SCCmec IV/IVa MRSAB was associated with lower rates of agr dysfunction and hetero-resistance to vancomycin and a lower vancomycin MIC, compared with SCCmec I-III MRSAB. However, the outcomes of SCCmec IV/IVa MRSAB did not differ from those of SCCmec I-III MRSAB.

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