Species identification, slime production and oxacillin susceptibility in coagulase-negative staphylococci isolated from nosocomial specimens

Identificação de espécies, produção de "slime" e sensibilidade a oxacilina em amostras de Staphylococcus coagulase-negativo isoladas de espécimes nosocomiais

Ninety-two coagulase negative staphylococci (CNS) (forty-five of clinical origin and forty-seven of environmental origin), collected in a hospital in San Luis, Argentina, from March to June, 1999, were identified to species level by the ID 32 Staph and API Staph System (bioMérieux). Slime production was investigated by the quantitative and qualitative methods. Oxacillin susceptibility was determined by the disk diffusion test (1 µg), the agar dilution method (0.125 to 4 mg/ml) and agar screen (6 µg/ml). The presence of mecA gene was investigated by PCR. The clinical CNS species most commonly isolated were S. epidermidis, S. haemolyticus, S. hominis and S. saprophyticus. The frequency of slime production by clinical and environmental isolates was similar (25/45 and 27/47, respectively) and the results obtained by the quantitative and the qualitative methods correlated well. The mecA gene was detected in all S. epidermidis, S. haemolyticus and S. hominis isolates, which were resistant to oxacillin by the phenotypic methods. However, this gene was not present in S. klossii, S. equorum, S. xylosus and S. capitis strains. The gene was neither found in two out of the six S. saprophyticus isolates, in two out of three S. cohnii subsp. urealyticum isolates and in two out of five S. cohnii subsp. cohnii isolates, all of which resulted oxacillin resistant according to MIC. The gene was not found in oxacillin-susceptible strains either. Most of the CNS isolates (enviromental and clinical) that were slime producers were found to be oxacillin resistant, which makes the early detection of these microorganisms necessary to prevent their dissemination in hospitals, particularly among immunocompromised patients.

Coagulase-negative staphylococci; slime; mecA; oxacillin-R

Sociedade Brasileira de Microbiologia USP - ICB III - Dep. de Microbiologia, Sociedade Brasileira de Microbiologia, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes, 2415, Cidade Universitária, 05508-900 São Paulo, SP - Brasil, Ramal USP 7979, Tel. / Fax: (55 11) 3813-9647 ou 3037-7095 - São Paulo - SP - Brazil
E-mail: bjm@sbmicrobiologia.org.br