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Volume 49, Number 5, October 2016

Prevalence of vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA) and heterogeneous VISA among methicillin-resistant S. aureus with high vancomycin minimal inhibitory concentrations in Taiwan: A multicenter surveillance study, 2012–2013 

Sung-Hsi Huang, Yee-Chun Chen, Yin-Ching Chuang, Sheng-Kang Chiu, Chang-Phone Fung, Po-Liang Lu, Lih-Shinn Wang, Tsu-Lan Wu, Jann-Tay Wang


Corresponding author:

Corresponding author. Jann-Tay Wang, Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Number 7, Chung-Shan South Road, Taipei, Taiwan. 


Background and purpose: 

Intermediate-resistance and heteroresistance to vancomycin in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is reported worldwide. A surveillance study in 2003 showed that the prevalence rates of vancomycin-intermediate S. aureus (VISA) and heterogeneous VISA (hVISA) in Taiwan were 0.2% and 0.7%, respectively. This study aimed to investigate the updated prevalence of VISA and hVISA in Taiwan. 



MRSA isolates from sterile sites with minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 1 μg/mL or more to vancomycin were collected from 15 participating hospitals in Taiwan. Enrolled MRSA isolates were submitted to antimicrobial susceptibility testing, staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) element typing, and multilocus sequence typing. Isolates with vancomycin MIC of 1 μg/mL or 2 μg/mL were screened for vancomycin heterogeneous resistance by Etest glycopeptide-resistance detection (GRD). Those with positive GRD screening results were then analyzed by modified population analysis profiling-area under the curve method for confirmation of vancomycin heteroresistance. 



Between 2012 and 2013, a total of 622 MRSA isolates from sterile sites with vancomycin MIC of 1 μg/mL or more were studied. The prevalence rates of hVISA and VISA among these isolates were 10.0% and 2.7%, respectively. The hVISA prevalence increased significantly compared to that in 2003. Compared with vancomycin-susceptible S. aureus, hVISA and VISA isolates were less susceptible to ciprofloxacin, clindamycin, daptomycin, gentamicin, rifampin, and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, and are thus, more likely to have SCCmec II or III element. A twofold increase in either vancomycin or teicoplanin MIC doubled the probability of being hVISA.




Growing hVISA prevalence was highly suspected. Longitudinal surveillance of this phenomenon and monitoring of its clinical impact are necessary. 


Key words:

epidemiology, heterogeneous vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus, Taiwan