An outbreak of mupirocin-resistant staphylococcus aureus on a dermatology ward associated with an environmental reservoir

Marcelle C. Layton, Jan Evans Patterson, Maritza Perez, Peter Heald

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123 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To investigate a cluster of mupirocin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus on a dermatology ward. DESIGN: An outbreak of mupirocin-resistant S aureus was noted on the dermatology ward during a prospective epidemiologic study of methicillin-resistant S aureus (MRSA) and borderline methicillin-susceptible S aureus (BMSSA). Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of whole-cell DNA digested with Sma I was used as a marker of strain identity. SETTING AND PATIENTS: An 850-bed university hospital with a 12-bed inpatient dermatology ward. Most patients have severe, exfoliating dermatologic disorders. RESULTS: MRSA or BMSSA were isolated from 13 patients on the dermatology ward over a 14-month period. Eleven of these isolates (84.6%) were mupirocin-resistant. Nine isolates were present on admission (81.8%); 8 of these patients had been hospitalized on the same ward within the last two months. Nasal and hand cultures from 36 personnel were negative for mupirocin-resistant MRSA or BMSSA. Extensive environmental culturing revealed that a blood pressure cuff and the patients’ communal shower were positive for mupirocin-resistant BMSSA. PFGE of all mupirocin-resistant isolates demonstrated that the nine patients and both environmental sources had identical DNA typing patterns. INTERVENTIONS: Changing of blood pressure cuffs between patients and more stringent cleaning of communal areas was initiated. Repeat environmental cultures were negative. CONCLUSIONS: S aureus is not usually associated with an environmental reservoir; however, these patients all had severe desquamation, which may have prolonged environmental contamination. (Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 1993; 14:369-375.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)369-375
Number of pages7
JournalInfection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Epidemiology


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