Staphylococcus schweitzeri has been recently considered to be a highly divergent Staphylococcus aureus clade and usually colonises nonhuman primates and bats in sub-Saharan Africa. Its transmissibility to humans remains unclear. We therefore investigated the transmission of S.aureus and S.schweitzeri among humans, domestic animals, and wildlife in three remote African regions. A cross-sectional study on nasal and pharyngeal colonisation in humans (n=1288) and animals (n=698) was performed in Côte d'Ivoire, Gabon, and Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). Isolates were subjected to spa typing and multilocus sequence typing. Antimicrobial susceptibility and selected virulence factors were tested. S.schweitzeri was found in monkeys from all study sites but no transmission to humans was evident, despite frequent contact of humans with wildlife. In contrast, human-associated S.aureus sequence types (ST1, ST6, ST15) were detected in domestic animals and nonhuman primates, pointing toward a human-to-monkey transmission in the wild. The proportion of methicillin-resistant S.aureus (MRSA) among all S.aureus was 0% (Gabon), 1.7% (DR Congo), and 5.3% (Côte d'Ivoire). The majority of MRSA isolates belonged to the African clone ST88. In conclusion, we did not find any evidence for a transmission of S.schweitzeri from animals to humans. However, such a transmission might remain possible due to the close phylogenetic relation of humans and nonhuman primates. The ST88-MRSA clone was widespread in Côte d'Ivoire but not in Gabon and DR Congo.

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Clinical Microbiology and Infection
Department of Virology

Schaumburg, F, Pauly, M, Anoh, E, Mossoun, A, Wiersma, L.C.M, Schubert, G, … Peters, G. (2015). Staphylococcus aureus complex from animals and humans in three remote African regions. Clinical Microbiology and Infection, 21(4), 346.e1–346.e8. doi:10.1016/j.cmi.2014.12.001