The aim of this multicentre study was to analyse the characteristics of patients with bloodstream infections due to staphylococcal strains resistant to linezolid. This was a retrospective case-case-control study of patients hospitalised in three large teaching hospitals in Italy. A linezolid-resistant (LIN-R) Staphylococcus spp. group and a linezolid-susceptible (LIN-S) Staphylococcus spp. group were compared with control patients to determine the clinical features and factors associated with isolation of LIN-R strains. All LIN-R Staphylococcus spp. strains underwent molecular typing. Compared with the LIN-S group, central venous catheters were the main source of infection in the LIN-R group. The LIN-R and LIN-S groups showed a similar incidence of severe sepsis or septic shock, and both showed a higher incidence of these compared with the control group. Overall, patients in the LIN-R group had a higher 30-day mortality rate. Multivariate analysis found previous linezolid therapy, linezolid therapy >14 days, antibiotic therapy in the previous 30 days, antibiotic therapy >14 days, previous use of at least two antibiotics and hospitalisation in the previous 90 days as independent risk factors associated with isolation of a LIN-R strain. The G2576T mutation in domain V of 23S rRNA was the principal mechanism of resistance; only one strain of Staphylococcus epidermidis carried the cfr methylase gene (A2503), together with L4 insertion (71GGR72) and L3 substitution (H146Q). LIN-R strains are associated with severe impairment of clinical conditions and unfavourable patient outcomes. Reinforcement of infection control measures may have an important role in preventing these infections.
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