Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) are among the most frequently isolated bacterial species in clinical microbiology, and most CNS-related infections are hospital acquired. Distinguishing between these frequently multiple-antibiotic-resistant isolates is important for both treatment and transmission control. In this study we used isolates of methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci (MR-CNS) that were selected from a large surveillance study of the direct spread of MR-CNS. This strain collection was used to evaluate (i) Raman spectroscopy as a typing tool for MR-CNS isolates and (ii) diversity between colonies with identical and different morphologies. Reproducibility was high, with 215 of 216 (99.5%) of the replicate samples for 72 isolates ending up in the same cluster. The concordance with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE)-based clusters was 94.4%. We also confirm that the skin of patients can be colonized with multiple MR-CNS types at the same time. Morphological differences between colonies from a single patient sample correlated with differences in Raman and PFGE types. Some morphologically indistinguishable colonies revealed different Raman and PFGE types. This indicates that multiple MR-CNS colonies should be examined to obtain a complete insight into the prevalence of different types and to be able to perform an accurate transmission analysis. Here we show that Raman spectroscopy is a reproducible typing system for MR-CNS isolates. It is a tool for screening variability within a collection of isolates. Because of the high throughput, it enables the analysis of multiple colonies per patient, which will enhance the quality of clinical and epidemiological studies. Copyright

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Willemse-Erix, H.F.M., Jachtenberg, J-W., Barutçi, H., Puppels, G.J., van Belkum, A.F., Voss, A., & Maquelin, K.. (2010). Proof of principle for successful characterization of methicillin-resistant coagulase-negative staphylococci isolated from skin by use of raman spectroscopy and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 48(3), 736–740. doi:10.1128/JCM.01153-09