Heterogeneity and phylogenetic relationships of community-associated methicillin-sensitive/resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates in healthy dogs, cats and their owners

Authors


Chin Cheng Chou, School of Veterinary Medicine, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Section 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei 10617, Taiwan. E-mail: chouchin@ntu.edu.tw

Abstract

Aims:  To investigate the distribution of staphylococcal enterotoxin genes (se) and the molecular features of community-associated methicillin-sensitive/resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MSSA/MRSA) isolates in the nostrils of healthy pets and their owners.

Methods and Results:  A total of 114 Staph. aureus isolates were identified from 1563 nasal swab samples, and CA-MRSA accounted for 20·2% (n = 23) of the total identified isolates. CA-MRSA isolates (91·3%, 21/23) harboured higher percentage of se than did CA-MSSA isolates (58·2%, 53/91) (P < 0·01), and the two highest se profiles of CA-MRSA were seb-sek-seq (42·9%, 9/21) and seb-sek-seq-sep (28·6%, 6/21). Of the MSSAs, 42·8% (39/91) were resistant to at least one antimicrobial drug and 8·8% (8/91) were multidrug resistant (MDR). We identified nine staphylocoagulase (SC) types (I–VIII and X) and three multilocus sequence types (ST59-MRSA-IV/V, ST-239-MRSA-V and ST241-MRSA-V). SC VII (23·4%, 22/94), a staphylococcal food poisoning isolate found mainly in Japan, and ST-59-MRSA-IV/V (85%, 17/20), a widespread CA-MRSA clone found mainly in Taiwan, both were the most predominant types. Phylogenetic analysis together with se and molecular characteristics obtained using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis showed that high levels of antimicrobial resistance and the se-carrying clone ST59-MRSA-IV/V-SC VII were all clustered in genogroup 5.

Conclusions:  The CA-MRSA clone of se-carrying-MDR-ST-59-IV/V-SC VII was identified predominantly in this study, and this clone might play a significant role in staphylococcal food poisoning in community settings.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  To our knowledge, this is the first study focussing on enterotoxin-carrying CA-MRSA/MSSA in pets and their owners, and the results support the future warnings in animal–human bond caused by CA-staphylococci in the commonwealth and the need to take cautions worldwide.

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