Unique multi-resistant bacterium difficult to eradicate

February 28, 2014
Staphylococcus aureus

A previously unknown multi-resistant bacterium has been sticking around at a Swedish University Hospital for ten years. The reason for this is deficient hygiene routines among the staff, a doctoral thesis at Linköping University shows.

During 2005-2006 Östergötland County suffered a major outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

"In connection with the MRSA outbreak, an increased occurrence of MSSA was discovered, a strain that was sensitive to methicillin but resistant to many other types of antibiotic. This was a completely new find," says Maria Lindqvist, a PhD student in . The results are set out in her doctoral thesis.

The analysis of this multi-resistant MSSA showed that 91% were clonal, meaning genetically related, and that the majority came from elderly patients with infected wounds. The clonal outbreak was concentrated in eight nursing wards at the University Hospital and two primary health care centres in the same town, Linköping. Despite a large exchange of patients in the southeast medical care region – more than 8,000 patients from Jönköping County and Kalmar County are referred each year to US – the clone was limited to Linköping.

Genetic analysis showed that this probably stems from a successful strain of MRSA, but where and how it arose is unclear. The most notable thing is that the clone established itself and after ten years it is still present in the hospital.

"The reason for this is that staff are careless with their hygiene routines. They do not disinfect their hands carefully enough, they use long-sleeved work clothes, or wear watches or jewellery," says Ms Lindqvist.

Since the hygiene nurses visited the affected departments the situation has improved but the clone probably has mechanisms for virulence and spreading, which is what make it so successful.

Hospital-related infections are spread directly by contact between patients, the hands or clothes of the nursing staff, or indirectly via unclean instruments. Common infections arise in operation wounds, urinary tracts, the blood stream and the lungs. In-patients are more vulnerable due to things such as weaker immune defence and long-term antibiotic treatment.

Explore further: Pediatric musculoskeletal MRSA infections on the rise

More information: "Epidemiological and molecular biological studies of multi-resistant methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus." Linköping University Medical dissertations No. 1386: urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-103679

Related Stories

Pediatric musculoskeletal MRSA infections on the rise

October 26, 2013
Pediatric musculoskeletal Staphylococcus aureus bacterial infections have been evolving over the past decade, with more children diagnosed with the more virulent, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) today than ...

Prevent MRSA in horse hospitals

June 3, 2013
Bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics have become a serious threat to humans and animals. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an example of such a bacterium. MRSA infections in horses are difficult ...

Copious community-associated MRSA in nursing homes

October 24, 2013
More than one quarter of residents of 26 nursing homes in Orange County, California carry community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which spread more easily, and may cause more severe infection ...

MRSA strain gained dominance with help from skin bacteria

December 17, 2013
Scientists believe they have an explanation for how the most common strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) rapidly rose to prominence. Research published in mBio, the online open-access journal of the ...

Fewer cases of antibiotic-resistant MRSA infection in the US in 2011

September 16, 2013
An estimated 30,800 fewer invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections occurred in the United States in 2011 compared to 2005, according to a study in JAMA Internal Medicine by Raymund Dantes, M.D., ...

MRSA declines are sustained in veterans hospitals nationwide

October 29, 2013
Five years after implementing a national initiative to reduce methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) rates in Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, MRSA cases have continued to decline, according to a study in ...

Recommended for you

Finish your antibiotics course? Maybe not, experts say

July 27, 2017
British disease experts on Thursday suggested doing away with the "incorrect" advice to always finish a course of antibiotics, saying the approach was fuelling the spread of drug resistance.

Phase 3 trial confirms superiority of tocilizumab to steroids for giant cell arteritis

July 26, 2017
A phase 3 clinical trial has confirmed that regular treatment with tocilizumab, an inhibitor of interleukin-6, successfully reduced both symptoms of and the need for high-dose steroid treatment for giant cell arteritis, the ...

A large-scale 'germ trap' solution for hospitals

July 26, 2017
When an infectious airborne illness strikes, some hospitals use negative pressure rooms to isolate and treat patients. These rooms use ventilation controls to keep germ-filled air contained rather than letting it circulate ...

Researchers report new system to study chronic hepatitis B

July 25, 2017
Scientists from Princeton University's Department of Molecular Biology have successfully tested a cell-culture system that will allow researchers to perform laboratory-based studies of long-term hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. ...

Male hepatitis B patients suffer worse liver ailments, regardless of lifestyle

July 25, 2017
Why men with hepatitis B remain more than twice as likely to develop severe liver disease than women remains a mystery, even after a study led by a recent Drexel University graduate took lifestyle choices and environments ...

Mind-body therapies immediately reduce unmanageable pain in hospital patients

July 25, 2017
Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.