Lack of upward creep of glycopeptide MICs for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolated in the UK and Ireland 2001-07

R. Reynolds, R. Hope, M. Warner, A. P. MacGowan, D. M. Livermore, M. J. Ellington, on behalf of the BSAC Extended Working Party on Resistance Surveillance

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Objectives There have been several reports of upward creep in vancomycin MICs for Staphylococcus aureus [predominantly methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA)] over recent years, but only in single centres or using contemporaneous results. We aimed to test the hypothesis of MIC creep in a multicentre study, testing all the isolates concurrently.

Methods Nineteen laboratories in the UK and Ireland contributed isolates from blood to the BSAC Bacteraemia Resistance Surveillance Programme every year between 2001 and 2007. MICs for 271 MRSA from these sites were re-measured at a single central laboratory during a single week by the BSAC agar dilution method, but with v2-fold instead of conventional 2-fold dilutions. Re-test results were compared with the original results obtained each year at the same central laboratory.

Results The re-test results were much less variable than the original results and avoided the confounding of experimental variation with year of collection. They demonstrated statistically significant but very slow downward trends in MICs of vancomycin and teicoplanin, at 0.027 and 0.055 doubling dilutions/year, respectively. The original results had suggested more rapid trends in MICs, upward for vancomycin and downward for teicoplanin. The proportion of EMRSA-16 fell from 21% to 9% over the study period, while EMRSA-15 rose from 76% to 85%.

Conclusions Historical data can give a misleading impression of trends in MIC values because of experimental variation between tests conducted at different times. There was no upward creep in glycopeptide MICs for MRSA in the UK and Ireland between 2001 and 2007.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2912-2918
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number12
Early online date16 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • S. aureus
  • vancomycin
  • teicoplanin
  • MIC creep
  • bacteraemia
  • antimicrobial resistance surveillance

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