Abstract

An electronic surveillance network for monitoring antibiotic resistance in The Netherlands has been in operation since 1989. Seven public health laboratories participate and the system covers about 25% of all bacteriological determinations in The Netherlands. This paper reports the results of staphylococci isolated in the period 1989-1995. About 0.3% of the Staphylococcus aureus isolates in the study period were resistant to methicillin. This low percentage may be due to the restrictive use of antibiotics and to strict isolation measures aimed at eradicating methicillin-resistant S. aureus. Low frequencies of resistance among methicillin-resistant S. aureus were found for vancomycin (0%), chloramphenicol (11%), cotrimoxazole (11%), mupirocin (3% low-level resistance) and fusidic acid (7%). Twenty-one percent of the coagulase-negative staphylococci were resistant to methicillin. Low frequencies of resistance among these methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci were those to vancomycin (0.4%), nitrofurantoin (2%), doxycycline (20%) and amikacin (20%). Coagulase-negative staphylococci from cerebrospinal fluid, blood and skin were less often resistant to quinolones than isolates from respiratory tract, faeces and urine. A significant increase in resistance of coagulase-negative staphylococci to methicillin, erythromycin, gentamicin and ciprofloxacin was observed in the investigated period but the resistance to doxycycline and co-trimoxazole decreased in the last few years. To confirm the determination of methicillin resistance and coagulase production, a PCR method was developed which detects both the mecA and the coagulase gene. The results of the PCR method correlated well with the methicillin MIC as determined by an agar-dilution method.