Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains carrying the mecC gene have been reported from humans and animals from several European countries, but never from Spain. We describe the first isolates of mecC-positive MRSA of human origin collected in Spain and report a fatal case of bacteraemia.
Isolates were tested for phenotypic resistance using cefoxitin, tested for the mecA/mecC genes and toxin genes by PCR, and typed by staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec), PFGE, spa, multilocus sequence typing and agr.
During 2008-13 five MRSA isolates showing resistance to cefoxitin and carrying the mecC gene were recovered at one hospital in Spain. In a review of 5505 S. aureus strains received at the Spanish National Reference Centre for Staphylococci from the same period, we found two additional mecC-positive isolates. The isolates were recovered from blood (two), wounds (two), joint fluid (one), urine (one) and a nasal swab (one). All MRSA were mecA negative, presented SCCmecXI, belonged to agr group III and to clonal complex 130, and were negative for the production of the toxin genes tst1, eta, etb, etd and Panton-Valentine leucocidin. Six isolates belonged to spa type t843 (ST130 and ST1945, where ST stands for sequence type) and one to spa type t6220 (ST1945). One patient with mecC-positive MRSA sepsis died in the emergency department.
We confirm the presence of MRSA carrying the mecC gene in Spain, the ability of this livestock-associated MRSA to cause severe infections in humans and the need to perform culture-based susceptibility testing methods in order to detect these emerging strains.