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Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2014 May;11(5):354-6. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2013.1689. Epub 2014 Jan 30.

Genetic lineages, antimicrobial resistance, and virulence in Staphylococcus aureus of meat samples in Spain: analysis of immune evasion cluster (IEC) genes.

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Área Bioquímica y Biología Molecular, Universidad de La Rioja , Logroño, Spain .


The objective of this study was to determine the rate of contamination by Staphylococcus aureus in 100 meat samples obtained during 2011-2012 in La Rioja (Northern Spain), to analyze their content in antimicrobial resistance and virulence genes, as well as in immune evasion cluster (IEC) genes, and to type recovered isolates. Seven of 100 samples (7%) contained S. aureus: 6 samples harbored methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) and 1 pork sample harbored methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The MRSA isolate corresponded to the ST398 genetic lineage with a multidrug resistance profile and the absence of human IEC genes, which pointed to a typical livestock-associated MRSA profile. MRSA isolate was ascribed to the spa-type t011, agr-type I, and SCCmec-V and showed resistance to erythromycin, clindamycin, tetracycline, and streptomycin, in addition to β-lactams. The remaining six MSSA strains belonged to different sequence types and clonal complexes (three isolates ST45/CC45, one ST617/CC45, one ST5/CC5, and one ST109/CC9), being susceptible to most antibiotics tested but showing a wide virulence gene profile. Five of the six MSSA strains (except ST617/CC45) contained the enterotoxin egc-cluster or egc-like-cluster genes, and strain ST109/CC9 contained eta gene (encoding exfoliatin A). The presence of human IEC genes in MSSA strains (types B and D) points to a possible contamination of meat samples from an undefined human source. The presence of S. aureus with enterotoxin genes and MRSA in food samples might have implications in public health. The IEC system could be a good marker to follow the S. aureus contamination source in meat food products.

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