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Infect Drug Resist. 2018 Nov 20;11:2363-2375. doi: 10.2147/IDR.S178584. eCollection 2018.

A molecular epidemiological study of methicillin-resistant and methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus contamination in the airport environment.

Author information

Laboratory of Molecular Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Guangdong Pharmaceutical University, Guangzhou 510310, China,



Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) causes a wide variety of serious infections worldwide. There are few studies on the prevalence, antimicrobial susceptibility, and molecular characteristics of MRSA contamination in the environment of airports.

Materials and methods:

A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Guangzhou Baiyun Airport. Environmental surface sampling was conducted in frequently touched locations for S. aureus analysis. All isolates were characterized by multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and tested for antimicrobial susceptibility, resistance genes, and virulence genes. Data were analyzed by chi-squared test and correspondence analysis.


Of the 1,054 surface samples, the contamination rate was 7.2% (76/1,054) for S. aureus and 2.2% (23/1,054) for MRSA. There were 62.9% (56/89) S. aureus isolates classified as multidrug resistant (MDR), with six linezolid-resistant isolates and two cfr-carrying isolates. The most prevalent S. aureus genotypes were CC6 (ST6), CC59 (ST59), and CC188 (ST188), with ST59-MRSA-IV (pvl-) as the predominant MRSA. There were significant differences between methicillin-resistant and methicillin-sensitive isolates in rates of resistance to tetracycline (P<0.001) and sek carriage (P=0.029). The correspondence analyses revealed significant corresponding relationships between genotypes and phenotype-genotype characteristics of S. aureus isolates.


Our findings revealed a potential risk of cross-transmission of MRSA between human beings and environments, suggesting more stringent contamination control measures. In addition, this study revealed significant corresponding relationships between genotypes and phenotype-genotype characteristics of S. aureus isolates, which may provide new ideas for monitoring the latest epidemiological trends.


Staphylococcus aureus; antimicrobial susceptibility; environment; methicillin-resistant S. aureus; molecular characterization

Conflict of interest statement

Disclosure The authors report no conflicts of interest in this work.

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