Staphylococcal aureus Enterotoxin C and Enterotoxin-Like L Associated with Post-partum Mastitis

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Kristina T Franck, Heidi Gumpert, Bente Olesen, Anders R Larsen, Andreas Petersen, Jette Bangsborg, Per Albertsen, Henrik Westh, Mette D Bartels

Denmark is a low prevalence country with regard to methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In 2008 and 2014, two neonatal wards in the Copenhagen area experienced outbreaks with a typical community acquired MRSA belonging to the same spa type and sequence type (t015:ST45) and both were PVL and ACME negative. In outbreak 1, the isolates harbored SCCmec IVa and in outbreak 2 SCCmec V. The clinical presentation differed between the two outbreaks, as none of five MRSA positive mothers in outbreak 1 had mastitis vs. five of six MRSA positive mothers in outbreak 2 (p < 0.02). To investigate if whole-genome sequencing could identify virulence genes associated with mastitis, t015:ST45 isolates from Denmark (N = 101) were whole-genome sequenced. Sequence analysis confirmed two separate outbreaks with no sign of sustained spread into the community. Analysis of the accessory genome between isolates from the two outbreaks revealed a S. aureus pathogenicity island containing enterotoxin C and enterotoxin-like L only in isolates from outbreak 2. Enterotoxin C and enterotoxin-like L carrying S. aureus are associated with bovine mastitis and our findings indicate that these may also be important virulence factors for human mastitis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number173
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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