To understand Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage and its relationship with subsequent disease, insight into the natural (nonclinical) bacterial population structure is essential. This study investigated whether the distributions of S. aureus genotypes that cause colonization differ by geographic locales. High-throughput amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis was performed on nasal isolates of S. aureus from healthy American (n = 391) and Dutch (n = 829) volunteers. In total, 164,970 binary outcomes, covering 135 different markers per isolate, were scored. Methicillin resistance was defined for all strains; pulsed-field gel electrophoresis typing was performed for the American isolates. The overall population structures of the American and Dutch S. aureus isolates were comparable. The same four major AFLP clusters (I to IV) and subclusters were identified for both collections. However, the Dutch methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) isolates were overrepresented in AFLP cluster III (P = 0.0016). Furthermore, the majority of the American methicillin-resistant S. aureus isolates (90.5%) were located in AFLP cluster I (P < 0.0001). This result identifies differences in the local prevalence of certain S. aureus genotypes. AFLP clusters II and III, which represent multilocus sequence typing clonal complexes 30 and 45, respectively, account for 46.4% of all MSSA isolates in the study, suggesting that these two lineages have evolved as extremely successful pandemic colonizers of humans. In conclusion, the overall population structures of American and Dutch nasal carriage isolates of S. aureus are surprisingly similar, despite subtle geographic differences in the prevalence of certain S. aureus genotypes.

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Staphylococcus aureus: Resources
Journal of Clinical Microbiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Melles, D.C, Tenover, F.C, Kuehnert, M.J, Witsenboer, H, Peeters, J.K, Verbrugh, H.A, & van Belkum, A.F. (2008). Overlapping population structures of nasal isolates of Staphylococcus aureus from healthy Dutch and American individuals. Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 46(1), 235–241. doi:10.1128/JCM.00887-07