Molecular characterization of Staphylococcus aureus isolates from various healthcare institutions in Nairobi, Kenya: a cross sectional study

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Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials

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Abstract Background Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) has established itself over the years as a major cause of morbidity and mortality both within the community and in healthcare settings. Methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) in particular has been a major cause of nosocomial infections resulting in significant increase in healthcare costs. In Africa, the MRSA prevalence has been shown to vary across different countries. In order to better understand the epidemiology of MRSA in a setting, it is important to define its population structure using molecular tools as different clones have been found to predominate in certain geographical locations. Methods We carried out PFGE, MLST, SCCmec and spa typing of selected S. aureus isolates from a private and public referral hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. Results A total of 93 S. aureus isolates were grouped into 19 PFGE clonal complexes (A–S) and 12 singletons. From these, 55 (32 MRSA and 23 MSSA) representative isolates from each PFGE clonal complex and all singletons were spa typed. There were 18 different MRSA spa types and 22 MSSA spa types. The predominant MRSA spa type was t037 comprising 40.6 % (13/32) of all MRSA. In contrast, the MSSA were quite heterogeneous, only 2 out of 23 MSSA shared the same spa type. Two new MRSA spa types (t13149 and t13150) and 3 new MSSA spa types (t13182, t13193 and t13194) were identified. The predominant clonal complex was CC 5 which included multi-locus sequence types 1, 8 and 241. Conclusion In contrast to previous studies published from Kenya, there’s marked genetic diversity amongst clinical MRSA isolates in Nairobi including the presence of well-known epidemic MRSA clones. Given that these clones are resident within our referral hospitals, adherence to strict infection control measures needs to be ensured to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with hospital acquired MRSA infections.