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To evaluate the clonality of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains among hospitalized patients.
University-affiliated, 465-bed tertiary-care teaching hospital with adjacent cancer clinic in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
Thirty-five colonized and 30 infected patients from January 2, 1992, through August 31, 1993, were investigated retrospectively. Analysis by restriction fragment-length polymorphisms of ribosomal RNA genes (ie, ribotyping) of 103 nosocomial isolates of MRSA from these 65 patients and of 25 selected unrelated strains was completed. Ribotyping results were compared with the phage typing data obtained prospectively during the course of prospective MRSA surveillance.
HindIII ribotyping was more discriminating than phage typing when epidemiologically unrelated strains were differentiated by these methods (19 different ribotypes versus 14 phage types; P< .005). Two early index cases were identified. Isolates from the index cases were two different strains, identified by ribotyping analysis as ribotype A (clonal group 1) and ribotype B (clonal group 2), respectively. These two ribotypes were not found when typing the unrelated control strains. Thirty-six colonized and infected patients (55%) had clonal group 1 isolates, and 20 (31%) had clonal group 2 isolates. These two clones emerged in the hospital in January and February 1992 and dominated the entire investigated period. There also were six patients with an additional clonal group (group 4) that emerged and disappeared in the second quarter of 1993.
This study highlights the utility of ribotyping in investigating nosocomial MRSA. Three MRSA clones caused nosocomial colonization or infection in patients at this hospital. Two of these MRSA clones, once introduced, were maintained among our patients throughout the study period.
To evaluate the endemicity and epidemiology of toxigenic Clostridium difficile in a sustained outbreak of antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
University-affiliated, 465-bed tertiary care teaching hospital with adjacent cancer clinic in Hamilton, Ontario.
From August 8, 1991, through August 31, 1993, a total of 187 cases were investigated for epidemiologic analysis of toxigenic C difficile from stool cultures, to identify the endemic clone(s). To assess the nature of contamination, cultures of inanimate surfaces in the patient environment from the four most affected units (medical teaching, nonteaching medical, hematologic oncology, and the intensive care unit) were processed for C difficile. The 229 clinical strains and 24 environmental strains isolated were typed by numerical analysis of SDS-PAGE protein patterns.
A majority (81%) of cases in the epidemiologic analysis were associated with a toxigenic electrophoretic (EP) type 1 C difficile that was identical to the strain first isolated from an index case that occurred 18 months before the start of this study. Culture and typing of the C difficile strains from the inanimate surfaces in the four most affected units showed that the patient environment was contaminated with the toxigenic EP type 1 organism. Six other strains that occurred infrequently among cases also were found in the environment.
A single predominant toxigenic clone has been implicated in a sustained outbreak of antibiotic-associated diarrhea that affected elderly patients. The “endemic” clone transmitted for the 25-month study period was linked to an index case shedding a toxigenic EP type 1 strain that occurred 21 months prior to the initial outbreak on the medical teaching unit. The patient environment in the affected units was found to be contaminated with the same clone, possibly due to shedding of organisms by fecally incontinent symptomatic patients. The extrinsic factors contributing to the endemic transmission of this one clone still are not well understood
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