Epidemiology of Staphylococcus aureus in Italy: First nationwide survey, 2012

Floriana Campanile, Dafne Bongiorno, Marianna Perez, Gino Mongelli, Laura Sessa, Sabrina Benvenuto, Floriana Gona, Pietro E. Varaldo, Stefania Stefani

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A 3-month epidemiological study to determine the prevalence and antibiotic resistance of Staphylococcus aureus nosocomial infections was performed in 52 centres throughout Italy in 2012. A total of 21,873 pathogens were analysed. The prevalence of S. aureus among all nosocomial pathogens isolated in that period was 11.6% (n = 2541), whilst the prevalence of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) among the S. aureus was 35.8% (n = 910). All tested antimicrobials demonstrated 92.2% susceptibility against methicillin-susceptible S. aureus, with the exception of clindamycin (89.7%) and erythromycin (84.2%). Among MRSA, percentages of resistance ranged from 12.6% to >39% for tetracycline, rifampicin, clindamycin and gentamicin; higher percentages were found for erythromycin (65.4%) and fluoroquinolones (72.3-85.8%). Overall, the glycopeptide minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) distribution showed that 58.3% of strains possessed MICs of 1-2 mg/L and few strains were linezolid- or daptomycin-resistant. Molecular characterisation was performed on 102 MRSA selected from Northern, Central and Southern regions. Five major clones were found: Italian/ST228-I (t001-t023-t041-t1686-t3217), 33.3%; USA500/ST8-IV (t008), 17.6%; E-MRSA15/ST22-IVh (t020-t025-t032-t223), 16.7%; USA100/ST5-II (t002-t653-t1349-t2164-t3217-t388), 14.7%; and Brazilian/ST239/241-III (t030-t037), 3.9%. Five PVL-positive CA-MRSA isolates, belonging to USA300 and minor clones, were also identified. In conclusion, this first nationwide surveillance study showed that in Italy, S. aureus infections accounted for 11.6% of all nosocomial infections; MRSA accounted for approximately one-third of the S. aureus isolates and these were multidrug-resistant organisms. Five major MRSA epidemic clones were observed and were inter-regionally distributed, with ST228-SCCmecI becoming predominant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-254
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Global Antimicrobial Resistance
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2015


  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Italy
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • MRSA
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Surveillance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Microbiology (medical)


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