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Molecular characterization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) nasal colonization and infection isolates in a Veterans Affairs hospital.

Eko KE, Forshey BM, Carrel M, Schweizer ML, Perencevich EN, Smith TC. Molecular characterization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) nasal colonization and infection isolates in a Veterans Affairs hospital. Antimicrobial resistance and infection control. 2015 Apr 2; 4:10.

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BACKGROUND: Nasal colonization with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is associated with increased infection risk, yet colonization and infection isolates are rarely compared within the same study. The objectives of this study were to compare colonization and infection isolates from a Veterans Administration hospital in Iowa, and to determine the prevalence of livestock-associated MRSA (LA-MRSA) colonization and infection in a state with high livestock density. METHODS: All patients with available MRSA isolates collected through routine nasal screening (73%; n? = 397) and from infections (27%; n? = 148) between December 2010 and August 2012 were included and tested for spa type and presence of PVL and mecA genes. Clinical isolates were tested for antibiotic resistance patterns. Paired colonization and infection isolates were compared for genetic and phenotypic congruity. RESULTS: The most common spa types were t002 (and other CC5-associated strains; 65%) and t008 (and other CC8-associated strains; 20%). No classic LA-MRSA spa types were identified. CC5-associated strains were less likely to be associated with infections (22%; 77/353) compared with CC8-associated strains (49%; 53/109). MRSA colonization was more common among patients with infections (71%) compared with the general screening population (7%). In most cases (82%; 28/34), paired colonization and infection isolates were genetically and phenotypically indistinguishable. CONCLUSIONS: Our data demonstrate a direct link between antecedent nasal colonization and subsequent MRSA infection. Further, our data indicate variability in colonization and infection efficiency among MRSA genotypes, which points to the need to define the molecular determinants underlying emergence of S. aureus strains in the community and nosocomial setting.

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