PAGES: 188-195 DOI: 10.1590/0074-02760160381 Full paper
Sphygmomanometers and thermometers as potential fomites of Staphylococcus haemolyticus: biofilm formation in the presence of antibiotics

Bruna Pinto Ribeiro Sued1, Paula Marcele Afonso Pereira1, Yuri Vieira Faria1, Juliana Nunes Ramos1,3, Vanessa Batista Binatti1, Kátia Regina Netto dos Santos5, Sérgio Henrique Seabra4, Raphael Hirata Júnior1, Verônica Viana Vieira2,3, Ana Luíza Mattos-Guaraldi1,+, José Augusto Adler Pereira1

1Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Faculdade de Ciências Médicas, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil
2Fundação Oswaldo Cruz-Fiocruz, Instituto Nacional de Controle de Qualidade em Saúde, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil
3Fundação Oswaldo Cruz-Fiocruz, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil
4Centro Universitário Estadual da Zona Oeste, Laboratório de Tecnologia em Bioquímica e Microscopia, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil
5Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Instituto de Microbiologia Paulo de Góes, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil


BACKGROUND The association between Staphylococcus haemolyticus and severe nosocomial infections is increasing. However, the extent to which fomites contribute to the dissemination of this pathogen through patients and hospital wards remains unknown.

OBJECTIVES In the present study, sphygmomanometers and thermometers were evaluated as potential fomites of oxacillin-resistant S. haemolyticus (ORSH). The influence of oxacillin and vancomycin on biofilm formation by ORSH strains isolated from fomites was also investigated.

METHODS The presence of ORSH on swabs taken from fomite surfaces in a Brazilian hospital was assessed using standard microbiological procedures. Antibiotic susceptibility profiles were determined by the disk diffusion method, and clonal distribution was assessed in pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) assays. Minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of oxacillin and vancomycin were evaluated via the broth microdilution method. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays were performed to detect the mecA and icaAD genes. ORSH strains grown in media containing 1/4 MIC of vancomycin or oxacillin were investigated for slime production and biofilm formation on glass, polystyrene and polyurethane catheter surfaces.

FINDINGS ORSH strains comprising five distinct PFGE types were isolated from sphygmomanometers (n = 5) and a thermometer (n = 1) used in intensive care units and surgical wards. ORSH strains isolated from fomites showed susceptibility to only linezolid and vancomycin and were characterised as multi-drug resistant (MDR). Slime production, biofilm formation and the survival of sessile bacteria differed and were independent of the presence of the icaAD and mecA genes, PFGE type and subtype. Vancomycin and oxacillin did not inhibit biofilm formation by vancomycin-susceptible ORSH strains on abiotic surfaces, including on the catheter surface. Enhanced biofilm formation was observed in some situations. Moreover, a sub-lethal dose of vancomycin induced biofilm formation by an ORSH strain on polystyrene.

MAIN CONCLUSIONS Sphygmomanometers and thermometers are fomites for the transmission of ORSH. A sub-lethal dose of vancomycin may favor biofilm formation by ORSH on fomites and catheter surfaces.

Financial support: CAPES, FAPERJ, CNPq, SR-2/UERJ.
+ Corresponding author: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Received 22 August 2016
Accepted 22 November 2016


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