Background: From April through June 2008, we identified 12 patients in the intensive care unit and 3 patients on other wards infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus that was also resistant to linezolid. We investigated the mechanism of resistance--point mutations in domain V of 23S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) or presence of the cfr gene--involved in the outbreak.
Methods: Strains for the study were obtained in the intensive care unit and other wards. Minimal inhibitory concentrations were determined using automated methods, the E-test, or dilution in Mueller-Hinton agar in accordance with Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute guidelines. Strains were genotyped using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and were sequenced to determine the presence of point mutations in 23S rRNA. The presence of the cfr gene was determined by specific polymerase chain reaction.
Results: The minimal inhibitory concentrations of linezolid ranged from 16 mg/L to 32 mg/L, and all the strains were susceptible to tigecycline, vancomycin, and daptomycin. Typing of strains sequentially isolated by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis showed that each patient carried only 1 clonal type of linezolid-resistant, methicillin-resistant S. aureus as detected by sequential isolations. The presence of the cfr gene was confirmed in all the isolates. Furthermore, sequencing of domain V of 23S rRNA showed that the most common mechanism of linezolid resistance reported to date, mutation G2576T, was not detected in any of the strains analyzed.
Conclusions: We report the presence of the cfr gene underlying the resistance mechanism involved in a clinical outbreak of linezolid-resistant S. aureus.