Whole genome sequencing identifies zoonotic transmission of MRSA isolates with the novel mecA homologue mecC

Ewan M Harrison, Gavin K Paterson, Matthew T G Holden, Jesper Larsen, Marc Stegger, Anders Rhod Larsen, Andreas Petersen, Robert L Skov, Judit Marta Christensen, Anne Bak Zeuthen, Ole Heltberg, Simon R Harris, Ruth N Zadoks, Julian Parkhill, Sharon J Peacock, Mark A Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Several methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) lineages that carry a novel mecA homologue (mecC) have recently been described in livestock and humans. In Denmark, two independent human cases of mecC-MRSA infection have been linked to a livestock reservoir. We investigated the molecular epidemiology of the associated MRSA isolates using whole genome sequencing (WGS). Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) were defined and compared to a reference genome to place the isolates into a phylogenetic context. Phylogenetic analysis revealed two distinct farm-specific clusters comprising isolates from the human case and their own livestock, whereas human and animal isolates from the same farm only differed by a small number of SNPs, which supports the likelihood of zoonotic transmission. Further analyses identified a number of genes and mutations that may be associated with host interaction and virulence. This study demonstrates that mecC-MRSA ST130 isolates are capable of transmission between animals and humans, and underscores the potential of WGS in epidemiological investigations and source tracking of bacterial infections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-15
Number of pages7
JournalEMBO Molecular Medicine
Volume5
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

Keywords

  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Disease Reservoirs
  • Female
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Livestock
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
  • Middle Aged
  • Phylogeny
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Sheep
  • Staphylococcal Infections
  • Zoonoses

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