Characterization ofStaphylococcus aureusfaecal isolates associated with food-borne disease in Korea

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To characterize Staphylococcus aureus faecal isolates from people suspected to be infected with food poisoning by using antimicrobial susceptibility testing and molecular techniques.

Methods and Results

A total of 340 Staph. aureus isolates from 6226 people suspected to be infected with food poisoning were identified and characterized by biochemical methods, antimicrobial susceptibility testing and PCR. Samples were obtained from January 2006 to December 2008 from the National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System at the Research Institute of Public Health and Environment in Seoul Metropolitan, Korea. All strains carried at least one of the eight staphylococcal enterotoxin (se) genes tested and a total of 27 se profiles were produced; the most frequent se profile was seg-sei and the next was sea. Among the total isolates, 36 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSAs) isolates were further analysed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST), Staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) typing, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and PCR detection for pvl. ST72-SCCmec type IV was the most predominant clone (27 isolates, 75%) followed by ST1-SCCmec type IV (five isolates, 13·8%), ST20-SCCmec type IV (one isolate, 2·8%), ST493-SCCmec type IV (one isolate, 2·8%), ST903-SCCmec type IV (one isolate, 2·8%) and ST5-SCCmec type II (one isolate, 2·8%). By PFGE typing, MRSAs isolated during the same period were grouped together although they were isolated from different regions. None of MRSAs had PVL gene and nine MRSAs were multidrug resistant.


Analysis of MRSAs by MLST, SCCmec typing, PFGE and pvl detection showed that the majority of strain associated with food-borne diseases belonged to a Korean community-acquired (CA) MRSA clone with ST72-SCCmec type IV-PVL negative-SEG/SEI and its variations while one strain was hospital-acquired (HA) MRSA.

Significance and Impact of the Study

CA-MRSA clone which possessed ST72-SCCmec type IV-PVL negative-SEG/SEI was spread most commonly among MRSAs that were associated with food-borne diseases. This is the first report of ST903 strain in Korea.

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