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Novel Multidrug-Resistant Bacterium Keeps Hanging On

Swedish hospital has harbored same bug for 10 years (February 27)

A previously unknown multidrug-resistant bacterium has been sticking around at a Swedish University Hospital for a decade. The reason is deficient hygiene routines among the staff, a doctoral thesis at Linköping University shows.

During 2005–2006, Sweden’s Östergötland County experienced a major outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

“In connection with the MRSA outbreak, an increased occurrence of MSSA [methicillin-susceptible S. aureus] was discovered, a strain that was sensitive to methicillin but resistant to many other types of antibiotic. This was a completely new find,” said Maria Lindqvist, a PhD student in clinical microbiology.

An analysis of this multidrug-resistant MSSA showed that 91% of the microorganisms were clonal (genetically related) and that most of them came from elderly patients with infected wounds. The clonal outbreak was concentrated in eight nursing wards at the University Hospital and at two primary health care centers in the same town, Linköping.

A genetic analysis showed that the previously unknown MSSA probably stemmed from a successful strain of MRSA, but where and how it arose is unclear. The most notable thing is that the clone established itself and, after 10 years, is still present in the hospital, Lindqvist said.

“The reason for this is that staff are careless with their hygiene routines. They do not disinfect their hands carefully enough; they use long-sleeved work clothes; or they wear watches or jewelry,” Lindqvist remarked.

Source: Linköping University; February 27, 2014.

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