Spread of the multiresistant Iberian clone of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) to Italy and Scotland

Microb Drug Resist. Summer 1998;4(2):107-12. doi: 10.1089/mdr.1998.4.107.


The multidrug-resistant "Iberian" clone of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was first identified on the basis of its unique DNA fingerprints as the strain responsible for the massive 1989 outbreak of MRSA disease in the hospital Princeps d'Espanya, Barcelona, Spain. Most Iberian MRSA carry a constitutive beta-lactamase. They are resistant to most beta-lactam antibiotics, macrolides, aminoglycosides, tetracycline, rifampin and ciprofloxacin and are susceptible to fosfomycin, fusidic acid, mupirocin, sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim and vancomycin. The characteristic DNA fingerprints of the clone include the mecA polymorph I, Tn554 pattern E (or its variants), a chromosomal macrorestriction pattern (pulsed-field gel electrophoretic type) A (or its subtype variants), the lack of the mecI regulatory gene and a homogeneous, high level of expression of methicillin resistance. Molecular surveillance studies have documented the extensive spread of this clone to many Portuguese hospitals during the 1990s. In this article, we describe the spread of the Iberian MRSA to hospitals in Rome, Italy, and Scotland.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • DNA Fingerprinting
  • DNA, Bacterial / analysis*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple*
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Methicillin Resistance / genetics*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Phenotype
  • Scotland / epidemiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / transmission
  • Staphylococcus aureus / classification
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / genetics*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • DNA, Bacterial