Objectives: The objectives of this study were to determine the susceptibility of Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates to Mupirocin and other antimicrobial agents and to record the prevalence and distribution of this organism at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI).
Methods: MRSA isolates collected between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2008, were tested for low and high level resistance to Mupirocin. Susceptibility testing to other antibiotics including cotrimoxazole, minocycline, tetracycline, clindamycin, erythromycin, gentamicin and vancomycin was also done. Laboratory records for all patients from whom MRSA was recovered were reviewed and data on type and source of isolates, clinical diagnosis, history of previous hospitalization and use of mupirocin were extracted. In addition, the laboratory records for 2004 and 2005 were also reviewed to determine prevalence during these periods.
Results: Seven per cent of Staphylococcus aureus isolates were resistant to methicillin (MRSA) and of these, 30% and 24% showed low level and high level resistance to mupirocin, respectively. Ninety-four per cent of MRSA strains were resistant to erythromycin while 52% showed resistance to clindamycin. Resistance to tetracycline, co-trimoxazole and minocycline was 27%, 12% and 6%, respectively, while about one-third of the isolates were resistant to gentamicin. There was no resistance to vancomycin. More than half (58%) of the isolates were from skin and soft tissue specimens while isolates from respiratory and urinary tracts and the bloodstream accounted for 19%, 13% and 4%, respectively. There has been a steady increase in prevalence from 4% in 2004 to 5% in 2007 and 7% in 2008.
Conclusion: Resistance of MRSA to mupirocin appears to be an emerging problem at the UHWI and must be monitored carefully. There is also significant resistance to commonly used antimicrobial agents and strict adherence to antibiotic policy is required to preserve the usefulness of these agents.