AIMS: To determine the diversity of types of Staphylococcus epidermidis in a neonatal care unit of a secondary care hospital in the Netherlands. METHODS: In a prospective study, specimens from nose, ear, axilla, umbilicus, and groin were taken from patients twice a week during a period of up to two weeks. All isolates were typed by both pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and antibiogram analysis. RESULTS: Fifty three S epidermidis isolates from 15 of 24 patients were obtained in one to four surveys. Fourteen isolates from six patients had a common PFGE pattern and were of one multiresistant antibiogram type. The remaining 39 isolates were allocated to 24 sporadic PFGE types and were more susceptible to antibiotics. Colonisation with the multiresistant strain correlated with a long period of stay and with the use of specific antibiotics. The multiresistant isolates were related closely to isolates of S epidermidis found in a recent study in a teaching hospital in the vicinity of the secondary care hospital. CONCLUSION: Repeated sampling and the use of two typing methods allowed the identification of two closely related multiresistant S epidermidis strains in two hospitals in the same area.
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