Unusually large number of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus clones in a Portuguese hospital

I. Couto, J. Melo-Cristino, M. L. Fernandes, Teresa Garcia, N. Serrano, M. J. Salgado, A. Torres-Pereira, I. S. Sanches, H. De Lencastre

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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been endemic in Hospital de Santa Maria, a 1,300-bed teaching hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, since the mid-1980s with a prevalence of 30% in 1993. A total of 54 MRSA and 93 methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) isolates recovered during the first 3 months of 1993 were analyzed for the particular mecA polymorphs and Tn554 attachment sites (in the case of MRSA) and for pulsed-field gel electrophoretic patterns. While all MRSA isolates shared a very similar multidrug resistance antibiogram, molecular methods allowed the identification of an unusually large number of genetic backgrounds (24 different pulsed-field gel electrophoresis patterns in 54 isolates) and three different mecA polymorphs among the MRSA strains. Similar large variation in the genetic backgrounds of MSSA was observed. The most frequent mecA polymorph (mecA type I) was found in association with three different Tn554 patterns. Among the MRSA strains of Hospital Santa Maria, we found two clonal types previously described in Portugal: one corresponding to the dominant clone in an MRSA outbreak at the pediatric ward of the Lisbon Hospital Dona Estefania and another one identical to the Iberian epidemic clone identified in several Portuguese hospitals and in MRSA outbreaks in Barcelona and Madrid. This suggests that MRSA clones of Hospital de Santa Maria may have been a reservoir for staphylococcal strains over the past decade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2032-2035
Number of pages4
JournalJournal Of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1995


  • antibiotic agent
  • chloramphenicol
  • clindamycin
  • cotrimoxazole
  • erythromycin
  • fusidic acid
  • gentamicin
  • kanamycin
  • meticillin
  • neomycin


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