Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus caprae in a neonatal intensive care unit

T. L. Ross, E. P. Fuss, S. M. Harrington, M. Cai, T. M. Perl, W. G. Merz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Staphylococcus caprae, a hemolytic coagulase-negative staphylococcus that is infrequently associated with humans, was initially detected in specimens from six infants in our neonatal intensive care unit due to phenotypic characteristics common to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. These isolates were subsequently identified as S. caprae by the Automated RiboPrinter microbial characterization system. This prompted an 8-month retrospective investigation in our neonatal intensive care unit. S. caprae was the cause of 6 of 18 episodes of coagulase-negative staphylococcal bacteremia, was the most common coagulase-negative staphylococcus recovered from the nares of 6 of 32 infants surveyed in a methicillin-resistant S. aureus surveillance program, and was isolated from 1 of 37 health care providers' hands. Of 13 neonatal intensive care unit isolates tested, all were methicillin resistant and positive for the mecA gene. All 21 isolates were found to be a single strain by Automated RiboPrinter and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis with ApaI or SmaI digestion; ApaI was more discriminating in analyzing epidemiologically unrelated strains than Automated RiboPrinter or electrophoresis with SmaI. These findings extend the importance of S. caprae, emphasize its similarities to methicillin-resistant S. aureus, and demonstrate its ability to persist in an intensive care unit setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-367
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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