Emergence of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus EMRSA-15 clone as the predominant cause of diabetic foot ulcer infections in Portugal


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are often found in infected diabetic foot ulcers, in which the prevalence may reach 40%. These complications are one of the main causes of morbidity in diabetic patients. The objectives of this study were to investigate the prevalence and antimicrobial resistance of MRSA strains in infected diabetic foot ulcers and to characterize their genetic lineages. Samples collected from 42 type 2 diabetic patients, presenting infected foot ulcers, were seeded onto ORSAB plates with 2 mg/L of oxacillin for MRSA isolation. Susceptibility to 14 antimicrobial agents was tested by the Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method. The presence of resistance genes, virulence factors, and the immune evasion cluster system was studied by PCR. All isolates were characterized by MLST, accessory gene regulator (agr), spa, and staphylococcal chromosomal cassette mec (SCCmec) typing. Twenty-five MRSA strains were isolated. All isolates showed resistance to penicillin and cefoxitin. Sixteen isolates showed phenotypic resistance to erythromycin being 7 co-resistant to clindamycin. Resistance to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole was found in 2 isolates harboring the dfrA and dfrG genes. The IEC genes were detected in 80% of isolates, 16 of which were ascribed to IEC-type B. Isolates were assigned to 12 different spa types. The MLST analysis grouped the isolates into 7 sequence types being the majority (68%) ascribed to SCCmec type IV. In this study, there was a high prevalence of the EMRSA-15 clone presenting multiple resistances in diabetic foot ulcers making these infections complicated to treat leading to a higher morbidity and mortality in diabetic patients.

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Silva, V., Almeida, F., Carvalho, J.A. et al. Emergence of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus EMRSA-15 clone as the predominant cause of diabetic foot ulcer infections in Portugal. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 39, 179–186 (2020) doi:10.1007/s10096-019-03709-6

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  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
  • Infection
  • Diabetic foot ulcers
  • EMRSA-15