Author(s): Seetswane, E., Loeto, D., Muzila, M., Tshekiso, K., Gomba, A., et al

Source: Microbiology 2022;168:001213 DOI 10.1099/mic.0.001213

Abstract: The increasing occurrence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the environment, food and healthcare systems is a global public health concern. MRSA is reported to cause food poisoning, osteomyelitis and pyogenic infections of the skin, and consequently has been categorized as a high-priority pathogen by the World Health Organization. Here, we determined the presence of MRSA in clinical (n=56), food (n=150) and housefly samples (n=970) collected from two hospitals in Botswana. Characterization based on phenotypic (antimicrobial resistance, biofilm production) and genotypic (antimicrobial resistance genes and integrons) profiles were performed on all isolates. Of the total samples tested, 64 were positive for MRSA following conventional culture methods and PCR amplification of the mecA and mecC genes for confirmation of presumptive MRSA isolates. The confirmed isolates included 71% (95% CI 83.2–59.6) from clinical, 9% (95% CI 14–4.8) from food, and 1% (95% CI 1.6–0.4) collected from housefly samples. In total 89% (n=57) isolates in the current study showed a multidrug resistance phenotype, among these, resistance to β-lactams and glycoside antibiotic classes were predominant. Genotypic characterization showed the domination of the blatem gene (95%) followed by fox (63%) and tetO (19%) whilst vanA was only reported in 13% of the isolates. Integrons were detected in 50% (32/64) of the total MRSA isolates, and we report a high prevalence of etd gene, detected in 67% (43/64) of the isolates followed by eta 38% (24/64) whilst tsst-1 (3%) was the least detected genetic determinant. The genes etb and PVL were not detected in all the tested MRSA isolates. We provide the first report on the prevalence of MRSA isolated from the clinical-food-vector nexus harbouring biofilm and blatem genes, and antibiotic resistance profiles in Botswana. These results are significant for risk-assessment analysis and the development of improved MRSA infection prevention and control strategies.