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PLoS One. 2013 Nov 6;8(11):e77812. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0077812. eCollection 2013.

Contamination of public buses with MRSA in Lisbon, Portugal: a possible transmission route of major MRSA clones within the community.

Author information

1
Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica (ITQB), Universidade Nova de Lisboa (UNL), Oeiras, Portugal.

Abstract

In a previous study we have shown that public buses in Oporto, the second largest city in Portugal, were highly contaminated with MRSA. Here we describe the results of a similar study performed in another urban area of Portugal-Lisbon, the capital. Between May 2011 and May 2012, hand touched surfaces of 199 public buses in Lisbon were screened for MRSA contamination. Subsequently, the hands of 575 passengers who frequently use these bus lines were also screened. All hand carriers of MRSA were further screened for nasal carriage. The isolates were characterized by PFGE, staphylococcal cassette chromosome (SCC) mec typing, spa typing, MLST and were tested for the presence of mecA, Panton-Valentine leukocidin and arginine catabolic mobile element genes. MRSA contamination was shown in 72 buses (36.2%). The majority of the isolates belonged to three major clones: Clone A was identified as EMRSA-15 defined by pattern PFGE A, spa types t2357/t747/t025/t379/t910, ST22, and SCCmec IVh (n = 21; 29%). Clone B was the New York/Japan clone characterized by PFGE B-t002/t10682-ST5-II (n = 15; 21%). Clone C included isolates with characteristics of the international community-acquired USA300 or related clones, PFGE C-t008-ST8-IVa/IVc/IVg/IVnt/VI (n = 19; 26%). The first two clones are currently the two major lineages circulating in Portuguese hospitals. The hands of 15 individuals were contaminated with MRSA belonging to the nosocomial clones A or B. Eleven of these individuals were not nasal carriers of MRSA and all but one had travelled by public transportation, namely by bus, prior to sampling. In conclusion, public buses in two major cities in Portugal are often contaminated with MRSA representing clones dominant in hospitals in the particular geographic area. MRSA contamination of public transport and the transfer of the bacteria to the hands of passengers may represent a route through which hospital-acquired MRSA clones may spread to the community.

PMID:
24223124
PMCID:
PMC3819345
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0077812
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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