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Keywords:

  • Carriage;
  • infection;
  • Panton–Valentine leukocidin;
  • Staphylococcus aureus;
  • typing;
  • virulence

Clin Microbiol Infect 2011; 17: 1507–1513

Abstract

Staphylococcus aureus isolates from developed countries have been extensively analyzed with respect to their virulence patterns and clonal relatedness but there is only sparse information on the molecular diversity of S. aureus isolates from Africa. In particular, little is known about S. aureus isolates from asymptomatic carriers compared with isolates causing infections. From 2008 to 2010, we prospectively collected S. aureus isolates from asymptomatic carriers and infections in Lambaréné, Gabon, Central Africa. For these isolates, we determined major virulence factors, and performed multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and spa typing. Among 163 S. aureus isolates from asymptomatic carriers, we found the MLST clonal complexes (CCs) 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 15, 25, 30, 45, 88, 101, 121 and 152; 3.7% were methicillin-resistant (MRSA). The clinical isolates were associated with CCs 5, 8, 9, 15, 88, 121 and 152; 11% were MRSA. Sequence types 1 and 88 were significantly associated with infection and sequence type 508 was associated with carriage. Remarkably, there was a high prevalence of Panton–Valentine leukocidin (PVL) -encoding genes both in disease-related isolates (57.4%) and in carrier isolates (40.5%). We found differences in the clonal structure and virulence pattern of Gabonese S. aureus isolates from asymptomatic carriers and infections. Of note, S. aureus isolates from Gabon show a very high prevalence of PVL-encoding genes, which exceeds the rates observed for developed countries.