Characterization of Vancomycin-Heteroresistant Staphylococcus aureus from the Metropolitan Area of Detroit, Michigan, over a 22-Year Period (1986 to 2007)

Michael J. Rybak, Wayne State University
Steven N. Leonard, Ohio Northern University
Kerri L. Rossi, Wayne State University
Chrissy M. Cheung, Wayne State University
Helio S. Sadar, JMI Laboratories
Ronald N. Jones, JMI Laboratories

This work was created while Prof. Steven Leonard was part of Wayne State University's School of Medicine.


We screened for heteroresistant, vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (hVISA) among clinical isolates of methicillin-resistant S. aureus collected from three hospitals (two urban teaching hospitals and one community hospital) in the Detroit metropolitan area over a 22-year period. The Macro Etest method was used to screen all available isolates. Confirmation of hVISA-positive screens were confirmed by population–area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) analysis. A total of 1,499 isolates revealed hVISA/VISA rates of 2.2/0.4% (n = 225; 1986 to 1993), 7.6/2.3% (n = 356; 1994 to 2002), and 8.3/0.3% (n = 917; 2003 to 2007). Population-AUC analysis confirmed 92.6% of the hVISA-positive strains determined by the Macro Etest method. For the isolates with known sources (1,208), the predominant source of hVISA was blood (60%), followed by lung (21%), skin and wound infections (14%), abscess (1%), and other (4%). The percentage of hVISA-positive strains appeared to increase as a function of the vancomycin MIC. Staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing revealed that the majority (56.9%) of the hVISA strains were SCCmec type II and 39.4% were type IV; the majority of these strains were collected from 2000 to 2007. Our data indicate that the prevalence of hVISA may be increasing. Based on the association of vancomycin treatment failure in patients with hVISA, surveillance of hVISA strains is warranted.