Clin Microbiol Infect In order to perform a cost-effective search and destroy policy for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), a quick and reliable typing method is essential. In an area with a high level of animal-related MRSA ST398, pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) typing and spa-typing are not sufficient to discriminate between co-incidental findings and true transmission of MRSA. This study is the first to retrospectively show the performance of Raman spectroscopy in 16 well-documented outbreaks. We analysed 525 isolates, 286 MRSA ST398 and 239 from other PFGE clusters with Raman spectroscopy. When epidemiologically linked isolates from the outbreaks were analysed with PFGE as the reference standard, Raman spectroscopy correctly identified 97% of cases that were indistinguishable from the index case. With Raman cluster analysis, the most dominant distinction was between MRSA ST398 and other MRSA of human clonal lineages. Within MRSA ST398, 22 different Raman clusters were identified. Raman typing correctly identified an ST398 (spa type t567) outbreak in a hospital setting. No direct correlation was observed between Raman clusters and spa types. We conclude that Raman spectroscopy is a quick and reliable method of MRSA typing, which can be used in outbreak settings and it is comparable to PFGE, with the added advantage that PFGE non-typeable isolates can also be readily typed using the same sample preparation protocol. © 2011 The Authors. Clinical Microbiology and Infection

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Keywords Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Raman spectroscopy, ST398, Spa typing, Staphylococcus aureus
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Journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection
Wulf, M.W.H, Willemse-Erix, H.F.M, Verduin, C.M, Puppels, G.J, van Belkum, A.F, & Maquelin, K. (2011). The use of Raman spectroscopy in the epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus of human- and animal-related clonal lineages. Clinical Microbiology and Infection. doi:10.1111/j.1469-0691.2011.03517.x