The Burden of Rifampicin- and Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Italy.

Research paper by Dafne D Bongiorno, Gino G Mongelli, Stefania S Stefani, Floriana F Campanile

Indexed on: 01 Dec '17Published on: 01 Dec '17Published in: Microbial drug resistance (Larchmont, N.Y.)


Rifampicin is one of the major drugs used on its own and also in combination to treat numerous infections sustained by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In Italy, rifampicin resistance (RIF-R) is increasing in multidrug-resistant-MRSA isolates (16.4%), with respect to Europe (5.7%). In our study, the relationship between clones, rpoB mutations, and susceptibility profiles in 50 RIF-R MRSA isolated from hospitalized patients was evaluated. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed by the broth microdilution method. Isolates were typed by MLST/SCCmec/spa-typing. The rpoB gene was analyzed by PCR and sequence analysis. RIF-R isolates were 60% heterogeneous vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus (hVISA) and 22% daptomycin nonsusceptible and belonged to the major MRSA clones: ST228-SCCmec I (44%), ST8-SCCmec IV (18%), ST239-SCCmec III (16%), ST5-SCCmec II (14%), and ST22-SCCmec IVh (4%). Thirteen diverse RpoB amino acid substitutions were identified. Half of the strains harbored the H481N substitution, conferring low-level resistance. Different single mutations at the equivalent locus (H481D; H481Y) or in other loci, and multiple mutations conferred high-level resistance. In conclusion, this study investigated the nature of RIF-R in Italy among RIF-R-MRSA strains, finding a prevalence of ST228, strongly associated with reduced susceptibility to glycopeptides (hVISA). The spread of RIF-R strains in clinical settings represents a serious threat, due to their complex resistance nature even to new anti-Gram-positive drugs, making these infections particularly difficult to treat.