The information of molecular characteristics and antimicrobial susceptibility pattern of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is essential for control and treatment of diseases caused by this medically important pathogen. A total of 577 clinical MRSA bloodstream isolates from six major hospitals in Taiwan were determined for molecular types, carriage of Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) and sasX genes and susceptibilities to 9 non-beta-lactam antimicrobial agents. A total of 17 genotypes were identified in 577 strains by pulsotyping. Five major pulsotypes, which included type A (26.2%, belonging to sequence type (ST) 239, carrying type III staphylococcal chromosomal cassette mec (SCCmec), type F (18.9%, ST5-SCCmec II), type C (18.5%, ST59-SCCmecIV), type B (12.0%, ST239-SCCmec III) and type D (10.9%, ST59-SCCmecVT/IV), prevailed in each of the six sampled hospitals. PVL and sasX genes were respectively carried by ST59-type D strains and ST239 strains with high frequencies (93.7% and 99.1%, respectively) but rarely detected in strains of other genotypes. Isolates of different genotypes and from different hospitals exhibited distinct antibiograms. Multi-resistance to ≥3 non-beta-lactams was more common in ST239 isolates (100%) than in ST5 isolates (97.2%, P = 0.0347) and ST59 isolates (8.2%, P<0.0001). Multivariate analysis further indicated that the genotype, but not the hospital, was an independent factor associated with muti-resistance of the MRSA strains. In conclusion, five common MRSA clones with distinct antibiograms prevailed in the major hospitals in Taiwan in 2010. The antimicrobial susceptibility pattern of invasive MRSA was mainly determined by the clonal distribution.
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