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The relative importance of Staphylococcus saprophyticus as a urinary tract pathogen: distribution of bacteria among urinary samples analysed during 1 year at a major Swedish laboratory


Anders Ternhag, Department of Medicine, Section of Infectious Diseases, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna, Stockholm SE-171 76, Sweden. e-mail:


To determine the distribution of urinary tract pathogens with focus on Staphylococcus saprophyticus and analyse the seasonality, antibiotic susceptibility, and gender and age distributions in a large Swedish cohort. S. saprophyticus is considered an important causative agent of urinary tract infection (UTI) in young women, and some earlier studies have reported up to approximately 40% of UTIs in this patient group being caused by S. saprophyticus. We hypothesized that this may be true only in very specific outpatient settings. During the year 2010, 113 720 urine samples were sent for culture to the Karolinska University Hospital, from both clinics in the hospital and from primary care units. Patient age, gender and month of sampling were analysed for S. saprophyticus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Proteus mirabilis. Species data were obtained for 42 633 (37%) of the urine samples. The most common pathogens were E. coli (57.0%), Enterococcus faecalis (6.5%), K. pneumoniae (5.9%), group B streptococci (5.7%), P. mirabilis (3.0%) and S. saprophyticus (1.8%). The majority of subjects with S. saprophyticus were women 15–29 years of age (63.8%). In this age group, S. saprophyticus constituted 12.5% of all urinary tract pathogens. S. saprophyticus is a common urinary tract pathogen in young women, but its relative importance is low compared with E. coli even in this patient group. For women in other ages and for men, growth of S. saprophyticus is a quite uncommon finding.