Rapid PCR detection of the methicillin resistance gene, mecA, on the hands of medical and non-medical personnel and healthy children and on surfaces in a neonatal intensive care unit

Scand J Infect Dis. 2001;33(7):494-7. doi: 10.1080/00365540110026485.

Abstract

The hands of medical personnel are the chief vectors for transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and probably serve as an important reservoir for antibiotic resistance genes in hospitals. In this survey we examined different reservoirs of the methicillin resistance gene, mecA, using a simplified PCR method. Samples (n = 151) were taken from the hands of medical and non-medical personnel and healthy children and from surfaces in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). We also performed sampling from 4 different body sites in 5 of the medical personnel. Fifteen out of 16 nurses (94%) from the ICU carried the mecA gene on their hands, whereas only 35% of the paediatric nurses were mecA-positive. Of all medical personnel, 44% carried the mecA gene on their hands. There was a significant difference (p < 0.015) between medical and non-medical personnel in terms of the carriage rate of mecA. Four samples from surfaces in a NICU--2 ventilators, 1 bench and 1 telephone--were positive for mecA. Our results are comparable with those from previous studies on reservoirs of methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci using conventional culture techniques.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bacterial Proteins*
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Environmental Microbiology*
  • Hand / microbiology*
  • Hexosyltransferases*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Professional-to-Patient
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal
  • Interior Design and Furnishings*
  • Methicillin Resistance / genetics*
  • Muramoylpentapeptide Carboxypeptidase / genetics*
  • Penicillin-Binding Proteins
  • Peptidyl Transferases*
  • Personnel, Hospital*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / genetics
  • Staphylococcal Infections / transmission*

Substances

  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Penicillin-Binding Proteins
  • Peptidyl Transferases
  • Hexosyltransferases
  • Muramoylpentapeptide Carboxypeptidase