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Phenotypic and genotypic characterization of PVL-positive Staphylococcus aureus isolated from retail foods in China

Wu, Shi, Zhang, Feng, Huang, Jiahui, Wu, Qingping, Zhang, Jumei, Dai, Jingsha, Zeng, Haiyan, Yang, Xiaojuan, Chen, Moutong, Pang, Rui, Lei, Tao, Zhang, Youxiong, Xue, Liang, Wang, Juan, Ding, Yu
International journal of food microbiology 2019 v.304 pp. 119-126
antibiotic resistance, chloramphenicol, clindamycin, enterotoxins, foods, genes, kanamycin, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, mortality, multilocus sequence typing, multiple drug resistance, penicillins, phenotype, streptomycin, telithromycin, tetracycline, China
Staphylococcus aureus encodes numerous toxins that are known or strongly suspected to cause specific diseases or symptoms. Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) is one of these important toxins that is associated with high mortality rates. In our previous study, 1581 S. aureus strains were isolated from 4300 samples of retail foods obtained from most of the provincial capitals in China from 2011 to 2016. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of PVL-positive S. aureus isolates from retail foods in China and characterize these isolates by antibiotic resistance testing, spa typing, multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and enterotoxin gene analyses. In total, seventy-two isolates (72/1581, 4.6%) possessed pvl genes, including 24.1% MRSA isolates (26/108) and 3.1% MSSA isolates (46/1473), covering different types of food. The strains were divided into seventeen sequence types (STs) and twenty-seven spa types, and 43.1% (31/72) of the PVL-positive S. aureus isolates belonged to CC59-t437. These isolates contained at least one of the following enterotoxin genes: sei (97.2%), sem (86.1%), seq (80.6%), seg (68.1%), sek (68.1%), seb (62.5%), sel (52.8%), sej (50.0%), seh (48.6%), sep (45.8%), sea (38.9%), ser (37.5%), sen (27.8%), sec (16.7%), see (16.7%), sed (6.9%), seo (6.9%) and seu (6.7%). A total of 87.5% of the S. aureus isolates (63/72) harboured the classic SE genes (sea, seb, sec, sed, and see), whereas all the S. aureus isolates harboured the genes of the egc cluster (seg, sei, sem, sen, seo, and seu). In antimicrobial susceptibility tests, 98.6% of the isolates (71/72) exhibited resistance to at least one antibiotic, including 47 multi-drug-resistant isolates. Resistance to penicillin (94.4%), erythromycin (83.4%), clindamycin (63.9%), kanamycin (61.1%), telithromycin (58.3%), streptomycin (51.4%), tetracycline (47.2%), chloramphenicol (27.8%), fusidic acid (27.8%) and other antibiotics (<20%) was observed. All the PVL-positive MRSA isolates belonged to CC59-t437, which is the predominant type of community-associated (CA)-MRSA in China. The presence of these isolates in food represents a potential health risk for consumers and warrants further attention.