Objective The characteristics of staphylococcal skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) are poorly understood in northern South America and the Caribbean. The objectives of this study were to determine the frequency of methicillin resistance among Staphylococcus aureus isolates in an emergency department (ED) in Guyana and to identify specific molecular characteristics of these methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains.
Methods This was a cross-sectional study conducted at the main teaching hospital in Georgetown, Guyana. Eligible subjects included patients of all ages with SSTIs with obtainable purulent material. Purulent material was cultured, and S. aureus isolates were evaluated for antibiotic susceptibilities by disc diffusion. Molecular characterisation of MRSA isolates included identification of SCCmec type, assignment of genetic relatedness by rep-PCR and determination of the presence of two exotoxins, Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) and LukAB.
Results Eighty-five samples were collected; of these, 47 grew S. aureus. 24 of the 47 S. aureus samples were MRSA (51%; 95% CI 37% to 65%), representing 28% of all samples. All MRSA isolates were SCCmec type IV, PVL positive, LukAB positive and were highly related to the current epidemic clone in the USA, USA300.
Conclusions Here, we demonstrate a clinically significant proportion of methicillin resistance in SSTI-associated staphylococcal isolates. Guyanese isolates were highly related to the most common community-associated strain seen in the USA, USA300. These results have important implications for empiric antibiotic therapy and infection control policies in Guyana and similar settings.
- infectious diseases, bacterial
- soft tissue infection
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