Published: 30/05/2002, Volume II2, No. 5807 Page 10

England's first case of vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus has come to light in a kidney transplant patient, the Public Health Service Laboratory has reported.

The superbug was isolated at an unnamed unit in England last month. Though the infection was treated successfully, the patient died of an unrelated infection.

Follow-up screening has not identified further cases.

The finding is significant because vancomycin is one of the drugs used to treat methicillinresistant S aureus, the most common antibiotic-resistant infection. The organism in this case has been termed a GISA by PHLS - a glycopeptide-intermediate resistant S aureus. Though it was not treatable with vancomycin, it could be treated with other routinely available antibiotics.

Dr Georgia Duckworth, head of antimicrobial resistance surveillance at PHLS, said: 'This first GISA case in England is a serious development. Fortunately, this organism is still treatable... But this case underscores the fact there is no cause for complacency about antibiotic usage.'