African Journal of Clinical and Experimental Microbiology

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Molecular characterization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates from a hospital in Ghana

J Asante, U Govinden, A Owusu-Ofori, L.A. Bester, S.Y. Essack


Background: Methicillin-resistant  Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are a major cause of hospital- and community-acquired infection. They can colonize humans and cause a wide range of infections including pneumonia, endocarditis and bacteraemia. We investigated the molecular mechanism of resistance and virulence of MRSA isolates from a teaching hospital in Ghana.

Methodology: A total of 91 S. aureus isolates constituted the initial bacterial sample. Identification of S. aureus was confirmed by the VITEK 2 system. The cefoxitin screen test was used to detect MRSA and antibiotic susceptibility was determined using the VITEK 2 system. The resistance (mecA, blaZ, aac-aph, ermC, and tetK) and virulence (lukS/F-PV, hla, hld and eta) genes were amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and positive samples subjected to DNA sequencing. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was used to ascertain the relatedness of the isolates.

Results: Fifty-eight of 91 (63.7%) isolates were putatively methicillin resistant by the phenotypic cefoxitin screen test and oxacillin MICs. However, 43 (47%) of the isolates were genotypically confirmed as MRSA based on PCR detection of the mecA gene. Furthermore, 37.9% of isolates displayed resistance to tetracycline, 19% to trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole, 15.5% to clindamycin, 12.1% to gentamicin, 13.8% to ciprofloxacin and erythromycin, 6.9% to moxifloxacin and 7.0% to rifampicin. None of the isolates was positive for inducible clindamycin resistance. The prevalence of resistance (mecA, blaZ, aac(6’)-aph(2’’), tetK, and ermC) and virulence (hla and lukS/F-PV) genes respectively were 74%, 33%, 22%, 19%, 3%, 5% and 3%, with isolates organized in two highly related clades.

Conclusion: Results indicate a fairly high occurrence of MRSA, which can complicate the effective therapy of S. aureus infections, necessitating surveillance and stringent infection control programmes to forestall its spread.

Keywords: MRSA, mecA, blaZ, hla, lukS/F-PV
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