Biogeography and virulence of Staphylococcus aureus

Juan Fan, Min Shu, Ge Zhang, Wei Zhou, Yongmei Jiang, Yu Zhu, Guihua Chen, Sharon J Peacock, Chaomin Wan, Wubin Pan, Edward J Feil

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53 Citations (SciVal)


Background Staphylococcus aureus is commonly carried asymptomatically in the human anterior nares and occasionally enters the bloodstream to cause invasive disease. Much of the global diversity of S. aureus remains uncharacterised, and is not clear how disease propensity varies between strains, and between host populations.
Methodology We compared 147 isolates recovered from five kindergartens in Chengdu, China, with 51 isolates contemporaneously recovered from cases of pediatric infection from the main hospital serving this community. The samples were characterised by MLST, the presence/absence of PVL, and antibiotic resistance profiling.
Principal Findings Genotype frequencies within individual kindergartens differ, but the sample recovered from cases of disease shows a general enrichment of certain MLST genotypes and PVL positive isolates. Genotypes under-represented in the disease sample tend to correspond to a single sequence cluster, and this cluster is more common in China than in other parts of the world.
Conclusions/Significance Virulence propensity likely reflects a synergy between variation in the core genome (MLST) and accessory genome (PVL). By combining evidence from biogeography and virulence we demonstrate the existence of a “native” clade in West China which has lowered virulence, possibility due to acquired host immunity.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere6216
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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