Genotyping of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from sepsis patients in Pakistan and detection of antibodies against staphylococcal virulence factors


In order to obtain more information on the MRSA population structure in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan, we collected and genotyped MRSA causing bloodstream infections from a tertiary care hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, that serves the local population as well as Afghan immigrants and refugees. Thirty-one MRSA isolates from 30 patients were included and characterized by microarray hybridisation. For 25 patients, serum samples were tested using protein microarrays in order to detect antibodies against staphylococcal virulence factors. The most conspicuous result was the high rate of PVL-positive MRSA. Twenty-two isolates (71%) harboured lukF/S-PV genes. The most common lineage was CC772-MRSA-V/VT (PVL+) to which eleven isolates were assigned. The second most common strain was, surprisingly, CC8-MRSA-[IV+ACME] (PVL+), “USA300” (9 isolates). Two isolates were tst1 positive CC22-MRSA-IV, matching the Middle Eastern “Gaza Epidemic Strain”. Another two were PVL-positive CC30-MRSA-IV. The remaining isolates belonged to, possibly locally emerging, CC1, CC5, and CC8 strains with SCC mec IV elements. Twenty-three patient sera were positive for anti-PVL-IgG antibodies. Several questions arise from the present study. It can be assumed that MRSA and high rates of PVL-positive S. aureus/MRSA are a public health issue in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region. A possible emergence of the “USA300” clone as well as of the CC772 lineage warrants further investigation.

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The authors thank Peter Slickers (Abbott/Alere Jena) for bioinformatic work designing the microarrays used for the present study. We would like to acknowledge the staff of Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar for their cooperation in sample collection.

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Correspondence to Stefan Monecke.

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Supplemental file 1

Full genotyping data. (PDF 1065 kb)

Supplemental file 2A

Full serological data (direct assay). (PDF 267 kb)

Supplemental file 2B

Full serological data (indirect assay). (PDF 263 kb)

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Monecke, S., Syed, M.A., Khan, M.A. et al. Genotyping of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from sepsis patients in Pakistan and detection of antibodies against staphylococcal virulence factors. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 39, 85–92 (2020).

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  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • MRSA
  • mecA
  • PVL