Rifampicin and sodium fusidate reduces the frequency of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolation in adults with cystic fibrosis and chronic MRSA infection

J Hosp Infect. 2004 Mar;56(3):208-14. doi: 10.1016/j.jhin.2003.12.003.


Nosocomial transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) to patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) frequently results in chronic respiratory tract carriage. This is an increasing problem, adds to the burden of glycopeptide antibiotic use in hospitals, and represents a relative contraindication to lung transplantation. The aim of this study was to determine whether it is possible to eradicate MRSA with prolonged oral combination antibiotics, and whether this treatment is associated with improved clinical status. Adult CF patients (six male, one female) with chronic MRSA infection were treated for six months with rifampicin and sodium fusidate. Outcome data were examined for six months before treatment, on treatment and after treatment. The patients had a mean age of 29.3 (standard deviation=6.3) years and FEV(1) of 36.1% (standard deviation=12.7) predicted. The mean duration of MRSA isolation was 31 months. MRSA isolates identified in these patients was of the same lineage as the known endemic strain at the hospital when assessed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Five of the seven had no evidence of MRSA during and for at least six months after rifampicin and sodium fusidate. The proportion of sputum samples positive for MRSA was lower during the six months of treatment (0.13) and after treatment (0.19) compared with before treatment (0.85) (P<0.0001). There was a reduction in the number of days of intravenous antibiotics per six months with 20.3+/-17.6 on treatment compared with 50.7 before treatment and 33.0 after treatment (P=0.02). There was no change in lung function. Gastrointestinal side effects occurred in three, but led to therapy cessation in only one patient. Despite the use of antibiotics with anti-staphylococcal activity for treatment of respiratory exacerbation, MRSA infection persists. MRSA can be eradicated from the sputum of patients with CF and chronic MRSA carriage by using rifampicin and sodium fusidate for six months. This finding was associated with a significant reduction in the duration of intravenous antibiotic treatment during therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Carrier State
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross Infection
  • Cystic Fibrosis / complications*
  • Cystic Fibrosis / microbiology
  • Female
  • Fusidic Acid / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Methicillin Resistance
  • Rifampin / administration & dosage*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / complications
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy*
  • Staphylococcus aureus*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Fusidic Acid
  • Rifampin