Washington, DC – April 15, 2019 – A team of investigators has discovered a new, more powerful variant on an antimicrobial resistance gene common among Staphylococcus species. The gene protects the bacteria from an antiseptic compound widely used in healthcare. The team showed that the newly discovered gene occurs in a highly virulent and multi-resistant clone of Staphylococcus epidermidis, found in healthcare settings worldwide. The research is published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.
The researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial of chlorhexidine bathing. Hospitalized patients are sometimes bathed in a solution of chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG), a topical antiseptic, to reduce the spread of infections. S. epidermidis is an important cause of infections in patients with implanted medical devices. Bathing with CHG has been shown to reduce rates of device-associated infections.