Longitudinal analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates at a teaching hospital in Taiwan

J Formos Med Assoc. 1999 Jun;98(6):426-32.


In Taiwan, the frequency of nosocomial infections caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has increased rapidly during the past 10 years. To investigate the epidemiology of MRSA infections, a total of 140 MRSA isolates collected at National Taiwan University Hospital from 1992 to 1996 were characterized by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) profiles and antibiotypes, as determined with the disk diffusion method. Among these isolates, six PFGE types (with 20 subtypes) and six antibiotypes were identified. Antibiotyping proved to be a poor method of epidemiologic analysis, because almost all of the MRSA isolates analyzed shared a very similar multidrug-resistant antibiotype. Most MRSA infections and colonizations in this hospital were due to the spread of strains belonging to three major PFGE types (A, B, and C). However, the major type changed in different years with types A, B, and C being predominant in 1992 through 1993, 1994 through 1995, and 1996, respectively. The three major PFGE types spread easily throughout the hospital wards, presumably carried by health care workers and environmental contamination. Our results demonstrate that there was a dominant strain spreading in our hospital each year and the dominant strain may shift in different years.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Typing Techniques
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Cross Infection / microbiology
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • Humans
  • Methicillin Resistance / physiology*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcus aureus / classification*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / physiology
  • Taiwan / epidemiology