Phenotypically identified methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains from several hospitals in Romania and Saudi Arabia (n = 103 and 68, respectively) were confirmed to be MRSA by mecA PCR and PBP-2′ based latex agglutination. Subsequently, strains were differentiated at the sub-species level using pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of SmaI DNA macro-restriction fragments. Comparison of the PFGE fingerprints identified major clusters of strains, persistently present in the various hospitals. Endemicity of certain strains was identified, amongst others one due to a particularly methicillin resistant type in the burn wound sector of the Romanian hospital. No PFGE-based overlap was found between the Saudi and Romanian strains. However, multi locus sequence typing (MLST), performed for 20% of all strains, revealed that genuine genetic similarity was obscured by the PFGE analysis. In both the Romanian and Saudi hospitals the renowned sequence type (ST) 239 was very over-represented. This was especially apparent in Saudi Arabia, where all strains except two shared the ST 239 genotype. This clonal type has previously been identified in a variety of other countries. Despite the MLST concordance, PFGE data indicate that ST 239 diversifies while maintaining its core genome intact. ST 80, another previously but less frequently identified clone, was introduced in 2000 in the Romanian institutes and persisted over the past 3 years as a frequent cause of infections in a surgical department. The successful MRSA types can acquire prominent positions in hospitals of previously low-endemicity MRSA status.

Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), MLST, PFGE, Romania, Saudi Arabia, ST 239,
Infection, Genetics and Evolution
Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases

Cîrlan, M, Saad, F, Coman, D, Bilal, N.E, Elbashier, A.M, Kreft, D, … van Belkum, A.F. (2005). International spread of major clones of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus: Nosocomial endemicity of multi locus sequence type 239 in Saudi Arabia and Romania. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 5(4), 335–339. doi:10.1016/j.meegid.2004.09.005