Community-associated spa type t127/t922 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) prevalence increased from 1%-7% in Ireland between 2010-2015. This study tracked the spread of 89 such isolates from June 2013-June 2016. These included 78 healthcare-associated and 11 community associated-MRSA isolates from a prolonged hospital outbreak (H1) (n = 46), 16 other hospitals (n = 28), four other healthcare facilities (n = 4) and community-associated sources (n = 11). Isolates underwent antimicrobial susceptibility testing, DNA microarray profiling and whole-genome sequencing. Minimum spanning trees were generated following core-genome multilocus sequence typing and pairwise single nucleotide variation (SNV) analysis was performed. All isolates were sequence type 1 MRSA staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec type IV (ST1-MRSA-IV) and 76/89 were multidrug-resistant. Fifty isolates, including 40/46 from H1, were high-level mupirocin-resistant, carrying a conjugative 39 kb iles2-encoding plasmid. Two closely related ST1-MRSA-IV strains (I and II) and multiple sporadic strains were identified. Strain I isolates (57/89), including 43/46 H1 and all high-level mupirocin-resistant isolates, exhibited =80 SNVs. Two strain I isolates from separate H1 healthcare workers differed from other H1/strain I isolates by 7-47 and 12-53 SNVs, respectively, indicating healthcare worker involvement in this outbreak. Strain II isolates (19/89), including the remaining H1 isolates, exhibited =127 SNVs. For each strain, the pairwise SNVs exhibited by healthcare-associated and community-associated isolates indicated recent transmission of ST1-MRSA-IV within and between multiple hospitals, healthcare facilities and communities in Ireland. Given the interchange between healthcare-associated and community-associated isolates in hospitals, the risk factors that inform screening for MRSA require revision.
Journal: PloS one