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Infection. 2011 Dec;39(6):501-6. doi: 10.1007/s15010-011-0154-0. Epub 2011 Jun 28.

Increase of patients co-colonised or co-infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium or extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae.

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Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, Charité University Medicine, Hindenburgdamm 27, 12203 Berlin, Germany.



To determine the incidence of patients co-colonised or co-infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium or extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae in four German tertiary care hospitals.


This study was conducted at four tertiary care hospitals (all with >1,000 beds) in different geographic regions in Germany (Berlin in the east, Luebeck in the north, Freiburg in the southwest and Nuernberg in the southeast). Routine surveillance data on MRSA, vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and ESBL-producing bacteria were analysed from 2007 to 2009. Co-colonisation or co-infection was defined as a patient having positive cultures for at least two of the following resistant pathogens: MRSA, VRE faecium or different species of ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae within one calendar year.


A total of 896,822 patients were analysed, of which 10,066 patients harboured MRSA, VRE faecium and/or ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae, and 542 patients co-harboured at least two of those resistant pathogens. In 2009, 7.6% of the MRSA patients, 13.7% of the VRE faecium patients and even 16.1% of the ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae patients were co-colonised or co-infected. The incidence of patients with co-infection or co-colonisation increased steadily from 5 (2007) to 7 per 10,000 patients (2009).


Patients harbouring ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae or VRE faecium had a higher risk of being co-colonised or co-infected compared to what was to be extrapolated from their overall incidence. This might be linked to their gastrointestinal reservoir and impracticality to decolonise the gut of resistant VRE and ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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