A comparison of methicillin-resistant and methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus reveals no clinical and epidemiological but molecular differences

J Natalia Jiménez, Ana M Ocampo, Johanna M Vanegas, Erika A Rodriguez, José R Mediavilla, Liang Chen, Carlos E Muskus, Lázaro A Vélez, Carlos Rojas, Andrea V Restrepo, Carlos Garcés, Barry N Kreiswirth, Margarita M Correa
International Journal of Medical Microbiology: IJMM 2013, 303 (2): 76-83
Most studies on Staphylococcus aureus have focused on the molecular epidemiology of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infections. In contrast, little information is available regarding the molecular epidemiology of currently circulating methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) isolates in hospital settings, an epoch when the epidemiology of S. aureus has undergone significant changes. We conducted a cross-sectional study to compare the clinical, epidemiological, and genetic characteristics of MSSA and MRSA isolates at 3 tertiary-care hospitals in Medellín, Colombia, from February 2008 to June 2010. The infections were classified according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definitions. Genotypic analysis included spa typing, multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and staphylococcal cassette chromosome (mec) (SCCmec) typing. A total of 810 patients was enrolled. One hundred infections (12.3%) were classified as community-associated (31 CA-MSSA, 69 CA-MRSA), 379 (46.8%) as healthcare-associated community-onset (136 HACO-MSSA, 243 HACO-MRSA), and 331 (40.9%) as healthcare-associated hospital-onset (104 HAHO-MSSA, 227 HAHO-MRSA). Genotype analyses showed a higher diversity and a more varied spa type repertoire in MSSA than in MRSA strains. Most of the clinical-epidemiological characteristics and risk factors evaluated did not allow for discriminating MRSA- from MSSA-infected patients. The lack of equivalence among the genetic backgrounds of the major MSSA and MRSA clones would suggest that the MRSA clones are imported instead of arising from successful MSSA clones. This study emphasizes the importance of local surveillance to create public awareness on the changing S. aureus epidemiology.

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