Staphylococcus caprae, a hemolytic coagulase-negative staphylococcus that is infrequently associated with humans, was initially detected in specimens from six infants in our neonatal intensive care unit due to phenotypic characteristics common to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. These isolates were subsequently identified as S. caprae by the Automated RiboPrinter microbial characterization system. This prompted an 8-month retrospective investigation in our neonatal intensive care unit. S. caprae was the cause of 6 of 18 episodes of coagulase-negative staphylococcal bacteremia, was the most common coagulase-negative staphylococcus recovered from the nares of 6 of 32 infants surveyed in a methicillin-resistant S. aureus surveillance program, and was isolated from 1 of 37 health care providers' hands. Of 13 neonatal intensive care unit isolates tested, all were methicillin resistant and positive for the mecA gene. All 21 isolates were found to be a single strain by Automated RiboPrinter and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis with ApaI or SmaI digestion; ApaI was more discriminating in analyzing epidemiologically unrelated strains than Automated RiboPrinter or electrophoresis with SmaI. These findings extend the importance of S. caprae, emphasize its similarities to methicillin-resistant S. aureus, and demonstrate its ability to persist in an intensive care unit setting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)