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Occurrence and molecular composition of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolated from ocular surfaces of horses presented with ophthalmologic disease

Soimala, Tanawan, Lübke-Becker, Antina, Schwarz, Stefan, Feßler, Andrea T., Huber, Charlotte, Semmler, Torsten, Merle, Roswitha, Gehlen, Heidrun, Eule, Johanna C., Walther, Birgit
Veterinary microbiology 2018 v.222 pp. 1-6
antibiotic resistance, bacteriophages, conjunctivitis, control methods, disease control, eyes, fluoroquinolones, genes, gentamicin, horses, immune evasion, kanamycin, keratitis, methicillin, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, pathogenicity islands, phylogeny, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, restriction endonucleases, sequence analysis, signs and symptoms (animals and humans), sulfamethoxazole, tetracyclines, trimethoprim
Severe infections due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) have been increasingly recognized in virtually all fields of veterinary medicine. Our objective was to study the occurrence, phylogenetic relationships and antimicrobial resistance properties of MRSA isolated from ocular surfaces of horses prior to invasive procedures. Within a 49-week sampling period, ocular swabs obtained from 46 eyes of 44 horses, including eyes with clinical signs of conjunctivitis/blepharitis, keratitis or uveitis were screened for the presence of S. aureus. As a result, seven samples were positive for S. aureus (15.2%), with six of them being classified as MRSA (13%). In addition, all isolates were resistant or showed reduced susceptibility to tetracyclines, the aminoglycosides gentamicin and kanamycin, fluoroquinolones, and the combination sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim. Since a very close relationship between the MRSA isolates was assumed after pulsed-field gel electrophoresis employing the restriction endonuclease ApaI, whole genome sequencing (WGS) was used to shed more light on the phylogenetic relationships and the molecular composition of all MRSA isolates. Analysis of WGS data revealed closely related MRSA belonging to sequence type 398, spa type t011 and dru type dt10q, harboring an SCCmec IV element and the Staphylococcus aureus pathogenicity island SaPIbov5. Moreover, all MRSA were positive for a beta-hemolysin converting phage carrying genes of the immune evasion cluster (IEC). Since cases of eye infections due to MRSA were often associated with fatal outcomes, more research is needed with respect to the origin of MRSA isolated from ocular surfaces to implement sufficient barrier and infection control measures.