Absence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization among immunocompetent healthy adults: Insights from a longitudinal study

Sonia T. Almeida, A. Cristina Paulo, João Babo, João Borralho, Catarina Figueiredo, Bruno Goncalves, João Lança, Mónica Louro, Hermes Morais, Joana Queiroz, Herminia De Lencastre, Raquel Sa-Leão

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Abstract

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has long been known as a major cause of hospital-acquired (HA-MRSA) infections worldwide. For the past twenty years, an increasing number of studies have described its emergence in the community as well. In Portugal, a country with a high-prevalence of HA-MRSA, there are only limited data available on the epidemiology of MRSA in the community. We studied the prevalence of S. aureus and MRSA colonization among healthy adults in Portugal. Between February 2015 and December 2016, a longitudinal study was conducted in which 87 adults aged 25- 50 years old were followed for six months. For each participant nasopharyngeal, oropharyngeal and saliva samples were obtained monthly and, in some cases, weekly. A total of 1,578 samples (n = 526 for each sampling site) were examined for the presence of S. aureus and MRSA by classical culture-based methods. Fifty-seven adults (65.5%) carried S. aureus at least once during the six months period of the study: 19.5% were persistent S. aureus carriers and 46.0% were intermittent carriers. Carriage rates per sampling site were 20.5% in nasopharynx, 18.3% in oropharynx, and 13.5% in saliva. Simultaneous screening of the three sampling sites increased detection of S. aureus, which overall occurred in 34.4% of the 526 sampling time-points. No MRSA were isolated. In conclusion, this study adds novel information about the MRSA scenario in the Portuguese community. Our results indicate that, in Portugal, MRSA does not seem to circulate among healthy adults without risk factors and therefore this age group does not constitute, at the current time, a reservoir of MRSA in the community.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0253739
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume16
Issue number6 June
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

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