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Free Content Molecular epidemiology of predominant clones and sporadic strains of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Switzerland and comparison with European epidemic clones

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Objective 

To assess the molecular epidemiology and risk factors of predominant clones and sporadic strains of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Swiss hospitals and to compare them with European strains of epidemic clones. Material and methods 

One-year national survey of MRSA cases. Analysis of epidemiological and molecular typing data (PFGE) of MRSA strains. Results 

In 1997, 385 cases of MRSA were recorded in the five Swiss university hospitals and in 47 community hospitals. Half of the cases were found in Geneva hospitals where MRSA was already known to be endemic. Molecular typing of 288 isolates (one per case) showed that 186 (65%) belong to four predominant clones, three of which were mostly present in Geneva hospitals. In contrast, the fourth clone (85 cases) was found in 23 hospitals (in one to 16 cases per hospital). The remaining 35% of the strains were clustered into 62 pulsed field gel electrophoresis types. They accounted for one to five patients per hospital and were defined as sporadic. Multivariate analysis revealed no independent risk factors for harboring a predominant versus a sporadic strain, except that transfer from a foreign hospital increases the risk of harboring a sporadic strain (OR, 42; 95% CI, 5–360). Conclusion 

While cases with predominant clones were due to the local spread of these clones, most sporadic cases appear to be due to the continuous introduction of new strains into the country. With the exception of a transfer from a hospital outside Switzerland, no difference in the clinical or epidemiological characteristics was observed between patients harboring a predominant clone and those with a sporadic strain.
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Keywords: Epidemic; MRSA; molecular typing; sporadic

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland, 2: Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève, Switzerland, 3: Universitäts-Spital, Zürich, Switzerland, 4: Universitäts-Spital, Basel, Switzerland, 5: Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie, Bern, Switzerland, and 6: Institut für Mikrobiologie, Zürich, Switzerland

Publication date: 01 July 2002

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