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J Clin Microbiol. 2005 Oct;43(10):5150-7.

Comparison of genetic backgrounds of methicillin-resistant and -susceptible Staphylococcus aureus isolates from Portuguese hospitals and the community.

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  • 1Laboratório de Genética Molecular, Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica da Universidade Nova De Lisboa, Oeiras, Portugal.


In order to understand the origins of the dominant methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) clones in Portuguese hospitals, we compared the genetic backgrounds of nosocomial MRSA with methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) isolates from the same hospitals (n=155) and from the community (n=157) where they were located. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, spa typing, multilocus sequence typing, and agr type analysis revealed that the genetic backgrounds correspondent to the dominant MRSA clones in Portuguese hospitals during the last 15 years (Iberian ST 247, Brazilian ST 239, and EMRSA-15 ST 22) were scarcely or not found among the present MSSA collection. The four major MSSA clones encountered (A-ST 30, B-ST 34, C-ST 5, and H-ST 45) correspond, or are very similar, to the background of other international MRSA pandemic clones, i.e., EMRSA-16, New York/Japan, Pediatric, and Berlin clones. However, with the exception of the Pediatric clone, none of these MRSA clones has been detected in Portugal. Our findings suggest the three major MRSA clones identified in Portuguese hospitals have not originated from the introduction of SCCmec into dominant MSSA backgrounds present in the Portuguese nosocomial or community environment but were probably imported from abroad. In contrast, the MRSA Pediatric clone might have originated in our country by the acquisition of SCCmec type IV into MSSA clone C. Furthermore, we provide evidence that the introduction of SCCmec into sensitive clones is most likely a relatively infrequent event that seems to depend not exclusively on the presence of a successful MSSA lineage.

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