Major West Indies MRSA Clones in Human Beings: Do They Travel With Their Hosts?

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Descriptions of the epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have seldom been produced in the Caribbean, which is a major tourism destination.

Materials and Methods.

Using DNA microarrays and spa typing, we characterized 85 MRSA isolates from human skin and soft-tissue infections from five different islands.


In the French West Indies (n = 72), the most frequently isolated clones were the same clones that are specifically isolated from mainland France [Lyon (n = 35) and Geraldine (n = 11) clones], whereas the clones that were most frequently isolated from the other islands (n = 13) corresponded with clones that have a worldwide endemic spread [Vienna/Hungarian/Brazilian (n = 5), Panton Valentine leukocidin-positive USA300 (n = 4), New York/Japan (n = 2), and pediatric (n = 1) clones].


The distribution of the major MRSA clones in the French (Guadeloupe and Martinique) and non-French West Indies (Jamaica, Trinidad, and Tobago) is different, and the clones most closely resemble those found in the home countries of the travelers who visit the islands most frequently. The distribution might be affected by tourist migration, which is specific to each island.

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