Staphylococcus aureus from the German general population is highly diverse
Abstract Objectives This prospective cohort study evaluates colonization dynamics and molecular characteristics of methicillin-susceptible and – resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA/MRSA) in a German general population. Methods Nasal swabs of 1878 non-hospitalized adults were screened for S. aureus . Participants were screened thrice in intervals of 6–8 months. Isolates were characterized by spa and agr typing, mecA and mecC possession, respectively, and PCRs targeting virulence factors. Results 40.9% of all participants carried S. aureus at least once while 0.7% of the participants carried MRSA (mainly spa t011). MSSA isolates (n=1359) were associated with 331 different spa types; t084 (7.7%), t091 (6.1%) and t012 (71, 5.2%) were predominant. Of 206 participants carrying S. aureus at all three sampling time points, 14.1% carried the same spa type continuously; 5.3% carried different spa types with similar repeat patterns, but 80.6% carried S. aureus with unrelated spa types. MSSA isolates frequently harboured genes encoding enterotoxins ( sec : 16.6%, seg : 63.1%, sei : 64.5%) and toxic shock syndrome toxin ( tst : 17.5%), but rarely Panton-Valentine leukocidin ( lukS -PV/ lukF -PV: 0.2%). Conclusions MSSA colonizing human nares in the community are clonally highly diverse. Among those constantly carrying S. aureus , clonal lineages changed over time. The proportion of persistent S. aureus carriers was lower than reported elsewhere.
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