Control and prevention of methicillin-resistant (MRSA) infections should include early identification of patients at higher risk of MRSA acquisition and analysis of isolates by discriminatory bacterial DNA typing methods. One hundred and three MRSA isolates cultured between Sept. 1994 and Sept. 1995 from 62 patients in two teaching hospitals (hospital 1, in Rio de Janeiro; hospital 2, in Minas Gerais) were tested for antimicrobial resistance and genomic DNA was analysed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Ten profiles were identified: A, B, C, I and J in hospital 1 and A, B, D, E, F, G and H in hospital 2. PFGE patterns A and B were isolated at both hospitals. The majority (80%) of isolates had similar PFGE patterns (type A). Subtype A was isolated at both hospitals, but was more frequent in hospital 2 (54%), while subtype A predominated in hospital 1 (63%). MRSA isolates were resistant to the majority of antimicrobial agents tested. However, susceptibility to vancomycin alone was found in 32% of the isolates at hospital 1, whereas 48% of isolates from hospital 2 were susceptible to both vancomycin and mupirocin, and 34% demonstrated susceptibility to vancomycin, mupirocin and chloramphenicol. Thirty-nine percent of all isolates were mupirocin-resistant, with 90% of these belonging to PFGE pattern A. Four main risk factors were associated with MRSA infection or colonisation which may be useful in the early identification of patients at risk: >7 days hospitalisation (95%), very dependent patients (84%), invasive procedures (79%) and recent antimicrobial therapy (79%). The data demonstrate that PFGE pattern A is disseminated in both hospitals. However, at both hospitals subtypes of pattern A and the other PFGE types were associated with different antibiotic resistance patterns.


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