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The aim of this study was to analyse genotypes for clinical isolates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), including hetero-vancomycin-resistant Staph. aureus (VRSA), at a Japanese university hospital.Seventy-eight clinical isolates of MRSA were analysed by arbitrarily primed-polymerase chain reaction (AP-PCR) using ERIC2 primer and by pulse-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) following SmaI digestion. Analyses of the nine genotypes and 28 subtypes defined by PFGE, and of the three genotypes and 22 subtypes defined by AP-PCR, both facilitated epidemiological tracing. Used in combination, AP-PCR and PFGE provided more precise classification than the use of a single genotyping method. The six hetero-VRSA isolates were classified into four genotypes defined by the combination of both methods, but these genotypes contained non-VRSA isolates.The results suggest that both PFGE and AP-PCR are useful in discriminating MRSA, but not hetero-VRSA, isolates for epidemiological analysis.Combining the results of PFGE with the results of AP-PCR can provide more detail differentiation of MRSA and hetero-MRSA isolates than either method alone.