Vancomycin susceptibility trends and prevalence of heterogeneous vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus in clinical methicillin-resistant S. aureus isolates

Adam M. Pitz, Fang Yu, Elizabeth D. Hermsen, Mark E. Rupp, Paul D. Fey, Keith M. Olsen

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Due to the rise in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections and widespread use of vancomycin, MRSA isolates with reduced susceptibility to vancomycin are emerging (i.e., MIC creep). However, the prevalence of heterogeneous vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus (hVISA) is unknown due to the difficulty in detecting this phenotype. Recently, Etest glycopeptide resistance detection (GRD) strips have been developed to detect hVISA. This study assessed vancomycin susceptibility in MRSA isolates and determined the prevalence of hVISA by Etest GRD and population analysis profile-area under the curve ratio (PAP-AUC). The genetic backgrounds of 167 MRSA isolates collected from 2000 to 2008 were identified by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Vancomycin MICs were determined using Etest and two broth microdilution assays, MicroScan and Sensititre. Etest GRD was performed on all isolates, and those exhibiting a hVISA phenotype were further tested by PAP-AUC. The vancomycin MIC modes remained consistent at 1 μg/ml, as assessed by Sensititre and MicroScan. Etest reported a significant increase (mode MIC = 1.5 μg/ml) in the MIC between 2000 and 2008 (P < 0.01); however, this increase did not reflect a ≥2-fold change. In addition, the slight MIC increase did not increase linearly from 2000 to 2008, suggesting biological fluctuation, and is inconsistent with the concept of MIC creep. Etest GRD identified six hVISA isolates, two of which were confirmed to be hVISA by PAP-AUC. In conclusion, reduced vancomycin susceptibility was not detected in our hospital over a 9-year period using three different MIC methodologies, and the hVISA incidence was 1.2%, as determined by Etest GRD and PAP-AUC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-274
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)

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