• Africa;
  • clones;
  • community-acquired infections;
  • hospital infections;
  • methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus;
  • Panton–Valentine leukocidin

Clin Microbiol Infect 2011; 17: 160–165


The epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Africa is poorly documented. From January 2007 to March 2008, we collected 86 MRSA isolates from five African towns, one each in Cameroon, Madagascar, Morocco, Niger and Senegal. Although one or two major clones, defined by the sequence type and staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec type, predominated at each site, genetic diversity (ten clones) was relatively limited in view of the large geographical area studied. Most of the isolates (n = 76, 88%) belonged to three major clones, namely ST239/241-III, a well-known pandemic clone (n = 34, 40%), ST88-IV (n = 24, 28%) and ST5-IV (n = 18, 21%). The latter two clones have only been sporadically described in other parts of the world. The spread of community-associated MRSA carrying the Panton–Valentine leukocidin genes is a cause for concern, especially in Dakar and possibly throughout Africa.