Staphylococcus aureus nasal carriage among homeless population in Lisbon, Portugal.


Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Instituto de Tecnologia Química e Biológica António Xavier (ITQB-NOVA), Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Oeiras, Portugal. [Email]


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) nasal carriage is a major risk factor for infection, namely among populations in the community with inherent prompting factors, such as the homeless. In Portugal, there are no data on S. aureus/MRSA nasal carriage among the homeless community. A total of 84 homeless individuals living in Lisbon (34 with no permanent address and 50 living in shelter) were nasally screened for S. aureus/ MRSA. All isolates were characterized to determine antimicrobial susceptibility and clonal type. A total of 43 (51.2%) S. aureus carriers were identified, including a single individual colonized with MRSA (1.2%). S. aureus carriage rate was higher among individuals with no permanent address (58.8% versus 46%), younger (45.7 ± 12.7 versus 52.5 ± 10.8 years), and with diagnosis of asthma (9% versus 0%). The single MRSA belonged to the EMRSA-15 clone (PFGE D, ST15-SCCmec IVh, and spa type t790). Almost half of the methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) isolates (41.9%, n = 18) belonged to two major clones, ST398-t1451 (n = 13) and ST30-t399/t11980/t12808 associated with PFGE I (n = 5). A high proportion of isolates showed non-susceptibility to mupirocin (64%), erythromycin (45%), and fusidic acid (20%) and induced resistance to clindamycin (39%). None of the isolates harboured PVL. Our results suggest that the homeless population of Lisbon does not constitute a reservoir of MRSA in the community, but harbour the highly transmissible ST398-t1451 MSSA lineage.


Homeless,MRSA,Nasal carriage,Portugal,

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