• Characterisation of MRSA from Malta and the description of a Maltese epidemic MRSA strain.

      Scicluna, E A; Shore, A C; Thürmer, A; Ehricht, R; Slickers, P; Borg, M A; Coleman, D C; Monecke, S; Infection Control Unit, Mater Dei Hospital, Msida, Malta. (2010-02)
      Malta has one of the highest prevalence rates of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in Europe. However, only limited typing data are currently available. In order to address this situation, 45 MRSA isolates from the Mater Dei Hospital in Msida, Malta, were characterised using DNA microarrays. The most common strain was ST22-MRSA-IV (UK-EMRSA-15, 30 isolates). Sporadic strains included ST36-MRSA-II (UK-EMRSA-16, two isolates), PVL-positive ST80-MRSA-IV (European Clone, one isolate), ST228-MRSA-I (Italian Clone/South German Epidemic Strain, one isolate) and ST239-MRSA-III (Vienna/Hungarian/Brazilian Epidemic Strain, one isolate). Ten MRSA isolates belonged to a clonal complex (CC) 5/ST149, spa type t002 strain. This strain harboured an SCCmec IV element (mecA, delta mecR, ugpQ, dcs, ccrA2 and ccrB2), as well as novel alleles of ccrA/B and the fusidic acid resistance element Q6GD50 (previously described in the sequenced strain MSSA476, BX571857.1:SAS0043). It also carried the gene for enterotoxin A (sea) and the egc enterotoxin locus, as well as (in nine out of ten isolates) genes encoding the toxic shock syndrome toxin (tst1) and enterotoxins C and L (sec, sel). While the presence of the other MRSA strains suggests foreign importation due to travel between Malta and other European countries, the CC5/t002 strain appears, so far, to be restricted to Malta.