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Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) are the major cause of nosocomial bloodstream infection. Emergence of vancomycin resistance among CNS is a serious public health concern, because CNS usually are multidrug-resistant, and glycopeptide antibiotics, among which only vancomycin is available in the United States, are the only remaining effective therapy. In this report, we describe the first bloodstream infection in the United States associated with a Staphylococcus epidermidis strain with decreased susceptibility to vancomycin.
We reviewed the hospital's microbiology records for all CNS strains, reviewed the patient's medical and laboratory records, and obtained all available CNS isolates with decreased susceptibility to vancomycin. Blood cultures were processed and CNS isolates identified by using standard methods; antimicrobial susceptibility was determined by using minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and disk-diffusion methods. Nares cultures were obtained from exposed healthcare workers (HCWs) to identify possible colonization by CNS with decreased susceptibility to vancomycin.
The bloodstream infection by an S epidermidis strain with decreased susceptibility to vancomycin occurred in a 49-year-old woman with carcinoma. She had two blood cultures positive for CNS; both isolates were S epidermidis. Although susceptible to vancomycin by the disk-diffusion method (16-17 mm), the isolates were intermediate by MIC (8-6 μg/mL). The patient had received an extended course of vancomycin therapy; she died of her underlying disease. No HCW was colonized by CNS with decreased susceptibility to vancomycin.
This is the first report in the United States of bloodstream infection due to S epidermidis with decreased susceptibility to vancomycin. Contact precautions likely played a role in preventing nosocomial transmission of this strain, and disk-diffusion methods may be inadequate to detect CNS with decreased susceptibility to vancomycin.
To describe the epidemiology of a cluster of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VAREC) in a cardiothoracic surgery intensive care unit.
A case series of patients identified through review of surveillance data on nosocomial infections, review of microbiologic records, and culture survey of patients in the unit.
Six patients in the cardiothoracic surgery intensive care unit had VAREC with identical antimicrobic susceptibility patterns over a 6-month period. Four patients were identified with VAREC through prospective surveillance and 2 through retrospective review. Prior vancomycin use was seen more commonly in patients with VAREC (6/6,100%) than in those without VAREC (3/12, 25%) (Fisher’s exact test, p= .01). Six of the 7 patients with prior infection developed VAREC (85.7%). A prior nosocomial infection and prior exposure to vancomycin were found to be important variables in a logistic regression analysis. VAREC also was isolated from the environment. Acombination of cohorting of patients and staff, and modifications of standard contact isolation practices eliminated the presence of VAREC from the cardiothoracic surgery intensive care unit.
The results suggest that prior administration of vancomycin, especially in the patient who develops nosocomial infection, can influence the acquisition of vancomycin-resistant enterococci and that VAREC may be transmitted from patient to patient. Using a modification of the standard infection control practice of isolation, we were able to control the spread of this resistant strain of E faecium.
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