Molecular epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates from regional hospitals in Trinidad and Tobago
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OBJECTIVES: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), first reported in a British hospital in the early 1960s, has now reached global proportions. Geographic spread of one or several MRSA clones in a city, country, and even among countries and continents has been identified by molecular techniques. We sought to determine whether clonal spread of MRSA has occurred in Trinidad and Tobago from all MRSA isolates collected between 2000 and 2001. METHODS: Clinical isolates of MRSA from three major hospitals in Trinidad and Tobago were identified by standard laboratory methods and analyzed using multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) after SmaI digestion. RESULTS: There was a 12.8% prevalence of MRSA in three major regional hospitals in Trinidad and Tobago. All 60 randomly selected MRSA strains from these hospitals produced similar PFGE banding patterns, suggesting a genetic relatedness among strains and that they belonged to a single clonal family. All isolates were negative for the Panton-Valentine leukocidin gene (pvl). These strains shared a PFGE banding pattern approximately (96%) the same as a Canadian strain called CMRSA-6 in the Canadian National Microbiology Laboratory database. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that only one major PFGE genotype of MRSA clone is circulating among the three major regional hospitals in Trinidad and Tobago suggesting one of three possible scenarios of microevolution: (1) all were from the dissemination of a single epidemic MRSA clone prevailing in these hospitals in Trinidad and Tobago; or (2) MRSA in Trinidad and Tobago is evolving more slowly than in other countries; or (3) that if other MRSA clones have been present in Trinidad and Tobago, they have not persisted.
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