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Authors: Kpeli, Grace and Buultjens, Andrew H and Giulieri, Stefano and Owusu-Mireku, Evelyn and Aboagye, Samuel Y and Baines, Sarah L and Seemann, Torsten and Bulach, Dieter and Gonçalves da Silva, Anders and Monk, Ian R and Howden, Benjamin P and Pluschke, Gerd and Yeboah-Manu, Dorothy and Stinear, Timothy

The emergence and evolution of community-acquired methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) strains in Africa is poorly understood. However, one particular MRSA lineage called ST88, appears to be rapidly establishing itself as an "African" CA-MRSA clone. In this study, we employed whole genome sequencing to provide more information on the genetic background of ST88 CA-MRSA isolates from Ghana and to describe in detail ST88 CA-MRSA isolates in comparison with other MRSA lineages worldwide.We first established a complete ST88 reference genome (AUS0325) using PacBio SMRT sequencing. We then used comparative genomics to assess relatedness among 17 ST88 CA-MRSA isolates recovered from patients attending Buruli ulcer treatment centres in Ghana, three non-African ST88s and 15 other MRSA lineages.We show that Ghanaian ST88 forms a discrete MRSA lineage (harbouring SCCmec-IV [2B]). Gene content analysis identified five distinct genomic regions enriched among ST88 isolates compared with the other S. aureus lineages. The Ghanaian ST88 isolates had only 658 core genome SNPs and there was no correlation between phylogeny and geography, suggesting the recent spread of this clone. The lineage was also resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics including ß-lactams, tetracycline and chloramphenicol.This study reveals that S. aureus ST88-IV is a recently emerging and rapidly spreading CA-MRSA clone in Ghana. The study highlights the capacity of small snapshot genomic studies to provide actionable public health information in resource limited settings. To our knowledge this is the first genomic assessment of the ST88 CA-MRSA clone.

Journal: PeerJ
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.3047
Year: 2017

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