Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL)-positive health care-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates are associated with skin and soft tissue infections and colonized mainly by infective PVL-encoding bacteriophages.J Clin Microbiol 2015; 53(1):67-72JC
The emergence of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL)-positive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a public health concern worldwide. PVL is associated with community-associated MRSA and is linked to skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs). However, PVL genes have also been detected in health care-associated (HA) MRSA isolates. The diseases associated with PVL-positive HA-MRSA isolates and the distributions of PVL-encoding bacteriophages in HA-MRSA have not been determined. In this study, a total of 259 HA-MRSA strains isolated between 2009 and 2012 in China from inpatients with SSTIs, pneumonia, and bacteremia were selected for molecular typing, including staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec typing, multilocus sequence typing, and staphylococcal protein A gene typing. The PVL genes and PVL bacteriophages in the MRSA isolates were characterized by PCR. Among the tested MRSA isolates, 28.6% (74/259) were PVL positive. The high prevalence of PVL-carrying HA-MRSA was observed to be associated with SSTIs but not with pneumonia or bacteremia. The PVL-positive HA-MRSA isolates were colonized mainly by infective PVL phages, namely, Φ7247PVL, ΦSLT, and ΦSa2958. The distribution of PVL-carrying bacteriophages differed geographically. Our study highlights the potential risk of the emergence of multidrug-resistant HA-MRSA strains with increased virulence.