Large screening of CA-MRSA among Staphylococcus aureus colonizing healthy young children living in two areas (urban and rural) of Portugal

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Background: The incidence of pediatric infections due to community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA), including children with no identifiable risk factors, has increased worldwide in the last decade. This suggests that healthy children may constitute a reservoir of MRSA in the community. In this study, nested within a larger one on nasopharyngeal ecology, we aimed to: (i) evaluate the prevalence of MRSA colonizing young children in Portugal; and (ii) compare results with those obtained in a study conducted a decade ago, when this prevalence was <0.5%. Methods: In the years 2006, 2007, and 2009, nasopharyngeal samples were obtained from 2,100 children aged up to 6 years attending day-care centers. S. aureus were isolated by routine procedures and strains were tested for susceptibility against a panel of 12 antimicrobial agents. MRSA isolates were further characterized by SmaI-PFGE profiling, MLST, spa typing, SCCmec typing, and presence of virulence factors. Results: Seventeen percent of the children carried S. aureus. Among the 365 isolates, non-susceptibility rates were 88% to penicillin, 14% to erythromycin, 6% to clindamycin, 2% to tetracycline, and <1% to oxacillin, rifampicin, ciprofloxacin, and SXT. Three MRSA strains were isolated. These had properties of CA-MRSA, such as low-level resistance to oxacillin and limited resistance to non-beta-lactams. Two CA-MRSA were related to USA700 (ST72-IV): one was ST72-IVc, spa type t148; the other was ST939-IVa (ST939 is a single locus variant (SLV) of ST72), spa type t324. The third strain was related to USA300 (ST8-IV) being characterized by ST931 (SLV of ST8)-VI, spa type t008. The three MRSA strains were PVL-negative, but all carried LukE-LukD leukocidin, hemolysins gamma, gamma variant and beta, and staphylococcal enterotoxin sel. Conclusions: Our results, based on analysis of S. aureus isolated from nasopharyngeal samples, suggest that in Portugal the prevalence of CA-MRSA carriage in healthy young children remains extremely low favoring the exclusion of this group as a reservoir of such isolates.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)ART110
JournalBMC Infectious Diseases
Issue numberNA
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

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