Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CoNS) are now recognized as the most common cause of nosocomial bacteremia in pediatric patients. Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA analysis was used to study the relationships among 12 isolates of CoNS obtained from eight patients with catheter-related bacteremia in two distinct wards of our hospital and 6 epidemiologically unrelated strains. With this method, we were able to discriminate isolates that otherwise were indistinguishable by conventional criteria such as biochemical typing and antibiotic susceptibility patterns. Our results indicate that there were episodes of cross-infections among four patients in one ward but independent infectious episodes among four patients in the other ward. Randomly amplified polymorphic DNA analysis is a rapid method which seems particularly well suited to the epidemiological study of CoNS isolates
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