Tracing the spread of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus by Southern blot hybridization using gene-specific probes of mec and Tn554

Microb Drug Resist. Winter 1995;1(4):307-13. doi: 10.1089/mdr.1995.1.307.


In a community hospital in Brooklyn, New York, over a 3-year period, 79 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates from five different case clusters were subtyped by Southern blot hybridization with two previously characterized gene probes, mec and Tn554. Together, the genotyping enabled the hospital infection control team to differentiate simultaneous MRSA clusters in the surgical intensive care unit (type I:A) and the open heart unit (type II:J), document the spread of one strain (type I:A) between roommates, identify an endemic strain (type II:J) from cardiac monitors and medical personnel, and identify an unrelated outbreak strain (type II:NH) in the labor and delivery unit. On the basis of this investigation it is clear that the routine DNA fingerprinting of MRSA in health care facilities, to monitor their spread and identify cases of nosocomial infections, is an important infection control measure.

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Southern
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Cross Infection / microbiology*
  • Cross Infection / transmission
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • DNA Probes
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Genes, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Methicillin / pharmacology
  • Methicillin Resistance / genetics*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Penicillins / pharmacology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / transmission
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics*


  • DNA Probes
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Penicillins
  • Methicillin