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The detection, survival and persistence of Staphylococcus capitis NRCS-A in neonatal units in England.

BACKGROUND: The multi-drug resistant Staphylococcus capitis clone, NRCS-A is increasingly associated with late-onset sepsis in low birthweight newborns in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in England and globally. Understanding where this bacterium survives and persists within the NICU environment is key to developing and implementing effective control measures.

AIM: To investigate the potential for S. capitis to colonise surfaces within NICUs.

METHODS: Surface swabs were collected from four NICUs with and without known NRCS-A colonisations/infections present at the time of sampling. Samples were cultured and S. capitis isolates analysed via whole genome sequencing. Survival of NRCS-A on plastic surfaces was assessed over time and compared to that of non-NRCS-A isolates. The bactericidal activity of commonly used chemical disinfectants against S. capitis was assessed.

FINDINGS: Of 173 surfaces sampled, 40 (21.1%) harboured S. capitis with 30 isolates (75%) being NRCS-A. Whilst S. capitis was recovered from surfaces across the NICU, the NRCS-A clone was rarely recovered from outside the immediate neonatal bedspace. Incubators and other bedside equipment were contaminated with NRCS-A regardless of clinical case detection. In the absence of cleaning, S. capitis was able to survive for 3 days with minimal losses in viability (< 0.5 log10 reduction). Sodium troclosene and a QAC-based detergent/disinfectant reduced S. capitis to below detectable levels.

CONCLUSION: S. capitis NRCS-A can be readily recovered from the NICU environment, even in units with no recent reported clinical cases of S. capitis infection, highlighting a need for appropriate national guidance on cleaning within the neonatal care environment.

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Urinary Tract Infections: Core Curriculum 2024.American Journal of Kidney Diseases 2023 October 31

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