High prevalence of a globally disseminated hypervirulent clone, Staphylococcus aureus CC121, with reduced vancomycin susceptibility in community settings in China

Ping Shen, Kai Zhou, Yu Wang, Jingjie Song, Yang Liu, Yanzi Zhou, Yonghong Xiao*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: Most vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA) and heterogeneous VISA (hVISA) are derived from hospital-associated MRSA due to treatment failure; however, the prevalence of hVISA/VISA in community settings remains unclear.

    Methods: Four hundred and seventy-six community-associated isolates were collected between 2010 and 2011 during national surveillance for antimicrobial resistance in 31 county hospitals across China. Drug susceptibility evaluation and mecA detection were performed by using broth microdilution and PCR analysis, respectively. hVISA/VISA were identified by using macro-Etest and a modified population analysis profile (PAP)-AUC method. The genetic features of all hVISA/VISA isolates were genotyped.

    Results: Among 476 isolates, MRSA and MSSA accounted for 19.7% (n = 94) and 80.3% (n = 382), respectively. Two VISA and 36 hVISA isolates were identified by PAP-AUC testing. The VISA isolates and 29 of the hVISA isolates were MRSA. The proportion of hVISA/VISA was significantly higher in MRSA (30.9%) than in MSSA (1.8%). The hVISA/VISA isolates were assigned to 18 STs classified into seven clonal complexes (CCs). CC121 (n = 12) followed by ST239 (n = 11) was the most prevalent hVISA/VISA clone. All ST239-hVISA/VISA were MRSA, while 12 CC121-hVISA isolates included 6 MSSA and 6 MRSA isolates. SCCmec III was predominant among MRSA-hVISA/VISA isolates. agr I and agr IV were detected in ST239 and CC121, respectively. All except two strains were positive for Panton-Valentine leucocidin genes.

    Conclusions: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of CC121 as a prevalent hVISA clone in community settings, highlighting the necessity of surveillance and stricter infection control measures for this globally disseminated lineage.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2537-2543
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Sep-2019


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