Virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes in human MRSA ST398 isolates in Austria

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This study determined the genetic background of virulence and resistance genes of MRSA ST398 in Austria. From 2004 up to 2008 a total of 41 human isolates of MRSA ST398 were investigated for virulence and resistance gene patterns using DNA microarray chip analysis. Highly similar virulence gene profiles were found in 29 (70·7%) of the isolates but genes encoding Panton–Valentine leukocidin, enterotoxins, or toxic shock syndrome toxin were not detected. Genes conferring resistance to tetracycline and erythromycin-lincosamide were common as all but one of the isolates exhibited tetM and/or tetK, which are involved in tetracycline resistance, and 12 (29·9%) were positive for ermC, conferring resistance to erythromycin/lincosamide. SplitsTree analysis showed that 40 isolates were closely related. Changes in virulence and resistance gene patterns were minimal over the observed time period.

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