Staphylococcus capitis: Review of Its Role in Infections and Outbreaks

Victoria Heath*, Elaine Cloutman-Green, Samuel Watkin, Magdalena Karlikowska, Derren Ready, James Hatcher, Nicola Pearce-Smith, Colin Brown, Alicia Demirjian

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In June 2021, a national incident team was formed due to an increased detection of Staphylococcus capitis in samples from hospitalised infants. Staphylococcus capitis has been known to cause outbreaks in neonatal units across the globe, but the extent of the UK spread was unclear. A literature review was undertaken to support case identification, clinical management and environmental infection control. A literature search was undertaken on multiple databases from inception to 24 May 2021, using keywords such as “Staphylococcus capitis”, “NRCS-A”, “S. capitis”, “neonate”, “newborn” and “neonatal intensive care unit” (NICU). After screening, 223 articles of relevance were included. Results show incidences of S. capitis outbreaks have frequently been associated with the outbreak clone (NRCS-A) and environmental sources. The NRCS-A harbours a multidrug resistance profile that includes resistance to beta-lactam antibiotics and aminoglycosides, with several papers noting resistance or heteroresistance to vancomycin. The NRCS-A clone also harbours a novel SCCmec-SCCcad/ars/cop composite island and increased vancomycin resistance. The S. capitis NRCS-A clone has been detected for decades, but the reasons for the potentially increased frequency are unclear, as are the most effective interventions to manage outbreaks associated with this clone. This supports the need for improvements in environmental control and decontamination strategies to prevent transmission.

Original languageEnglish
Article number669
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • NRCS-A
  • S capitis
  • Staphylococcus capitis
  • antibiotic resistance
  • biofilm
  • decontamination
  • environment
  • neonatal intensive care unit
  • vancomycin


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