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Concept: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus


Background Both targeted decolonization and universal decolonization of patients in intensive care units (ICUs) are candidate strategies to prevent health care-associated infections, particularly those caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Methods We conducted a pragmatic, cluster-randomized trial. Hospitals were randomly assigned to one of three strategies, with all adult ICUs in a given hospital assigned to the same strategy. Group 1 implemented MRSA screening and isolation; group 2, targeted decolonization (i.e., screening, isolation, and decolonization of MRSA carriers); and group 3, universal decolonization (i.e., no screening, and decolonization of all patients). Proportional-hazards models were used to assess differences in infection reductions across the study groups, with clustering according to hospital. Results A total of 43 hospitals (including 74 ICUs and 74,256 patients during the intervention period) underwent randomization. In the intervention period versus the baseline period, modeled hazard ratios for MRSA clinical isolates were 0.92 for screening and isolation (crude rate, 3.2 vs. 3.4 isolates per 1000 days), 0.75 for targeted decolonization (3.2 vs. 4.3 isolates per 1000 days), and 0.63 for universal decolonization (2.1 vs. 3.4 isolates per 1000 days) (P=0.01 for test of all groups being equal). In the intervention versus baseline periods, hazard ratios for bloodstream infection with any pathogen in the three groups were 0.99 (crude rate, 4.1 vs. 4.2 infections per 1000 days), 0.78 (3.7 vs. 4.8 infections per 1000 days), and 0.56 (3.6 vs. 6.1 infections per 1000 days), respectively (P<0.001 for test of all groups being equal). Universal decolonization resulted in a significantly greater reduction in the rate of all bloodstream infections than either targeted decolonization or screening and isolation. One bloodstream infection was prevented per 54 patients who underwent decolonization. The reductions in rates of MRSA bloodstream infection were similar to those of all bloodstream infections, but the difference was not significant. Adverse events, which occurred in 7 patients, were mild and related to chlorhexidine. Conclusions In routine ICU practice, universal decolonization was more effective than targeted decolonization or screening and isolation in reducing rates of MRSA clinical isolates and bloodstream infection from any pathogen. (Funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; REDUCE MRSA number, NCT00980980 .).

Concepts: Immune system, Pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Penicillin


The emergence of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) that can persist in the community and replace existing hospital-adapted lineages of MRSA means that it is necessary to understand transmission dynamics in terms of hospitals and the community as one entity. We assessed the use of whole-genome sequencing to enhance detection of MRSA transmission between these settings.

Concepts: Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcaceae


Money is one of the most frequently passed items in the world. The aim of this study was to ascertain the survival status of bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and Vancomycin- Resistant Enterococci (VRE) on banknotes from different countries and the transmission of bacteria to people who come in contact with the banknotes. The survival rate was highest for the Romanian Leu yielding all three microorganisms used after both three and six hours of drying. Furthermore, the Leu was the only banknote to yield VRE after one day of drying. Other currencies either enabled the survival of Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamases (ESBL) and VRE (e.g. Euro), but not of MRSA, or the other way round (e.g. US Dollar). While a variety of factors such as community hygiene levels, people’s behaviour, and antimicrobial resistance rates at community level obviously have influence on the transmission of resistant microorganisms, the type of banknote-paper may be an additional variable to consider.

Concepts: Bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Escherichia coli, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Linezolid, Vancomycin, ISO 4217


We investigated the evolution and epidemiology of a novel livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strain, which colonizes and infects urban-dwelling Danes even without a Danish animal reservoir. Genetic evidence suggests both poultry and human adaptation, with poultry meat implicated as a probable source.

Concepts: Bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Meat, Livestock, Adaptation, Charles Darwin, Poultry


Plant-derived compounds and other natural substances are a rich potential source of compounds that kill or attenuate pathogens that are resistant to current antibiotics. Medieval societies used a range of these natural substances to treat conditions clearly recognizable to the modern eye as microbial infections, and there has been much debate over the likely efficacy of these treatments. Our interdisciplinary team, comprising researchers from both sciences and humanities, identified and reconstructed a potential remedy for Staphylococcus aureus infection from a 10th century Anglo-Saxon leechbook. The remedy repeatedly killed established S. aureus biofilms in an in vitro model of soft tissue infection and killed methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) in a mouse chronic wound model. While the remedy contained several ingredients that are individually known to have some antibacterial activity, full efficacy required the combined action of several ingredients, highlighting the scholarship of premodern doctors and the potential of ancient texts as a source of new antimicrobial agents.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Staphylococcus aureus, Infection, Antibiotic resistance, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Wound, Tea tree oil


We have identified a natural clay mixture that exhibits in vitro antibacterial activity against a broad spectrum of bacterial pathogens. We collected four samples from the same source and demonstrated through antibacterial susceptibility testing that these clay mixtures have markedly different antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Here, we used X-ray diffraction (XRD) and inductively coupled plasma - optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) and - mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to characterize the mineralogical and chemical features of the four clay mixture samples. XRD analyses of the clay mixtures revealed minor mineralogical differences between the four samples. However, ICP analyses demonstrated that the concentrations of many elements, Fe, Co, Cu, Ni, and Zn, in particular, vary greatly across the four clay mixture leachates. Supplementation of a non-antibacterial leachate containing lower concentrations of Fe, Co, Ni, Cu, and Zn to final ion concentrations and a pH equivalent to that of the antibacterial leachate generated antibacterial activity against E. coli and MRSA, confirming the role of these ions in the antibacterial clay mixture leachates. Speciation modeling revealed increased concentrations of soluble Cu(2+) and Fe(2+) in the antibacterial leachates, compared to the non-antibacterial leachates, suggesting these ionic species specifically are modulating the antibacterial activity of the leachates. Finally, linear regression analyses comparing the log10 reduction in bacterial viability to the concentration of individual ion species revealed positive correlations with Zn(2+) and Cu(2+) and antibacterial activity, a negative correlation with Fe(3+), and no correlation with pH. Together, these analyses further indicate that the ion concentration of specific species (Fe(2+), Cu(2+), and Zn(2+)) are responsible for antibacterial activity and that killing activity is not solely attributed to pH.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Bacteria, Pneumonia, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Escherichia coli, Chemistry, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus


BACKGROUND: Hitherto, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has not been detected in Swedish cattle. However, due to the report of mecC, a novel homologue to the mecA gene, there was reason to re-evaluate susceptibility results from strain collections of Staphylococcus aureus and test suspected isolates for the presence of mecC. FINDINGS: Bovine isolates of S. aureus with elevated minimum inhibitory concentrations of beta-lactams were retrospectively tested for presence of mecC. In four of the isolates mecC was detected. CONCLUSION: In Sweden, this is the first finding of MRSA in cattle and the first detection of MRSA harbouring mecC of domestic animal origin. MRSA in animal populations has implications as a potential reservoir with risk for spread to humans. Occurrence of MRSA among Swedish cattle appears still very limited.

Concepts: Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Milk, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Vancomycin, Panton-Valentine leukocidin, Cattle, Oxacillin


The aim of this study was to seek additional data on the antimicrobial susceptibility of Staphylococcus spp. after habituation to low levels of the topical antimicrobial agent tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) oil. Meticillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), meticillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) were habituated to 0.075% tea tree oil for 3 days. Subsequently, the susceptibility of five isolates each of MSSA, MRSA and CoNS to fusidic acid, mupirocin, chloramphenicol, linezolid and vancomycin was determined by Etest, and susceptibility to tea tree oil, terpinen-4-ol, carvacrol and triclosan was determined by agar dilution. Following habituation to 0.075% tea tree oil, antimicrobial MICs differed between control and habituated isolates on 33 occasions (out of a possible 150), with MICs being higher in habituated isolates on 22 occasions. Using clinical breakpoint criteria, one MSSA isolate changed susceptibility category from vancomycin-susceptible (MIC=2μg/mL) to intermediate susceptibility (MIC=3μg/mL) after habituation in one of two replicates. For the non-antibiotic antimicrobial agents, MICs of habituated and control isolates differed on 12 occasions (out of a possible 120); 10 occasions in MRSA and 2 occasions in MSSA. MICs were higher for habituated isolates on five occasions. However, all the differences were one serial dilution only and were not regarded as significant. Habituation to sublethal concentrations of tea tree oil led to minor changes in MICs of antimicrobial agents, only one of which may have been clinically relevant. There is no evidence to suggest that tea tree oil induces resistance to antimicrobial agents.

Concepts: Microbiology, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Staphylococcus, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Vancomycin, Antimicrobial, Tea tree oil


Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) poses a threat to patient safety and public health. Understanding how MRSA is acquired is important for prevention efforts. This study investigates risk factors for MRSA nasal carriage among patients at an eastern North Carolina hospital in 2011.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Physician, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, North Carolina, Eastern North Carolina


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) continues to be a major problem, causing severe and intractable infections worldwide. MRSA is resistant to all beta-lactam antibiotics, and alternative treatments are limited. A very limited number of new antibiotics have been discovered over the last half-century, novel agents for the treatment of MRSA infections are urgently needed. Marinopyrrole A was reported to show antibiotic activity against MRSA in 2008. After we reported the first total synthesis of (±)-marinopyrrole A, we designed and synthesized a series of marinopyrrole derivatives. Our structure activity relationship (SAR) studies of these novel derivatives against a panel of Gram-positive pathogens in antibacterial assays have revealed that a para-trifluoromethyl analog (33) of marinopyrrole A is ≥63-, 8-, and 4-fold more potent than vancomycin against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus epidermidis (MRSE), methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) and MRSA, respectively. The results provide valuable information in the search for new-generation antibiotics.

Concepts: Bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, Antibiotic resistance, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Linezolid, Vancomycin, Penicillin, Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus