Comparative analysis of antibiotic and antimicrobial biocide susceptibility data in clinical isolates of methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa between 1989 and 2000*


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    The contents of this report are solely the responsibility of the author under the sponsorship of The Soap and Detergent Association and do not reflect the official views of The University of Iowa or its researchers who collected the underlying data.

Ronald J. W. Lambert, R2-Scientific, 5 Station Rd, Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire, UK MK44 1PT (e-mail:


Aims:  To analyse population minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) data from clinical strains of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa for changes over a 10-year period and to look for correlations between the antimicrobials tested.

Methods and Results:  Data from the MIC study of 256 clinical isolates of Staph. aureus [169 methicillin-sensitive Staph. aureus (MSSA), 87 methicillin-resistant Staph. aureus (MRSA)] and 111 clinical isolates of Ps. aeruginosa against eight antimicrobial biocides and several clinically relevant antibiotics was analysed using anova, Spearman-Rho correlation and principal component analysis. Comparisons suggest that alterations in the mean susceptibility of Staph. aureus to antimicrobial biocides have occurred between 1989 and 2000, but that these changes were mirrored in MSSA and MRSA suggests that methicillin resistance has little to do with these changes. Between 1989 and 2000 a sub-population of MRSA has acquired a higher resistance to biocides, but this has not altered the antibiotic susceptibility of that group. In both Staph. aureus and Ps. aeruginosa several correlations (both positive and negative) between antibiotics and antimicrobial biocides were found.

Conclusions:  From the analyses of these clinical isolates it is very difficult to support a hypothesis that increased biocide resistance is a cause of increased antibiotic resistance either in Staph. aureus or in Ps. aeruginosa.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  The observation of negative correlations between antibiotics and biocides may be a useful reason for the continued use of biocides promoting hygiene in the hospital environment.