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Oxacillin-susceptible mecA-positive Staphylococcus aureus associated with processed food in Europe

Quijada, Narciso M., Hernández, Marta, Oniciuc, Elena-Alexandra, Eiros, José María, Fernández-Natal, Isabel, Wagner, Martin, Rodríguez-Lázaro, David
Food microbiology 2019 v.82 pp. 107-110
air, airports, cheeses, gene expression, genes, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, plasmids, processed foods, Austria
We report for the first time an oxacillin-susceptible mecA-positive Staphylococcus aureus (OS-MRSA) associated with a processed food product in Europe. One isolate (MRSA-ST5-type V SCCmec) was found in cheese among 600 food samples confiscated from air passengers from international flights in Vienna Airport (Austria). Type V SCCmec strains do not harbor functional mecI-mecR1 genes and in such strains mecA expression is regulated by the bla system (blaI-blaR1-blaZ). It has been recently reported that malfunctions in the bla system lead to the constitutive expression of mecA. The OS-MRSA reported in this study harbored the bla system on a plasmid and one deletion occurred in the blaR1 gene causing a frameshift variant that lead to an incomplete BlaR1 protein. This finding highlights the potential role of food as a neglected route of dissemination of emerging MRSA variants.