Molecular epidemiology and resistance profiles among healthcare- and community-associated Staphylococcus aureus keratitis isolates

Jeffrey C. Peterson, Heather Durkee, Darlene Miller, Jorge Maestre-Mesa, Alejandro Arboleda, Mariela C. Aguilar, Nidhi Relhan, Harry W. Flynn, Guillermo Amescua, Jean Marie Parel, Eduardo Alfonso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: To characterize the molecular, epidemiological, and resistance profiles of methicillinresistant (MRSA) and methicillin-susceptible (MSSA) keratitis isolates. Patients and methods: We used a combination of standard microbiological techniques and DNA microarray analysis to characterize the molecular and antibiotic resistance profiles of 75 Staphylococcus aureus keratitis isolates collected over an 11-year period (2006-2016). Results: Two major USA clonal complexes (CC), CC5 (n=30, 40%) and CC8 (n=28, 37.3%), accounted for 77.3% of the collected S. aureus isolates. USA100, traditionally healthcare associated (n=18/47, 38.3%), and USA300, traditionally community associated (n=12/47, 25.5%), were the dominant MRSA strains. Four (22.2%) of the USA100 MRSA isolates were recovered from patients with no prior healthcare exposure. Eleven (91.7%) of the USA300 isolates were recovered from patients with documented healthcare risk factors. MSSA isolates were polyclonal (n=13). Ninety-three percent of MSSA infections were of healthcare origin. Thirty-seven of 61 (60.6%) healthcare- and 11 of 14 (78.6%) community-associated strains were resistant to three or more antibiotic classes. Sixty-eight percent (n=51) of isolates harbored three of more resistance determinants (genes). The Panton-Valentine Leucocidin gene was detected in 11 (14.7%) of the study isolates. The majority (72.7%) of the strains were members of the USA300 MRSA clone. Conclusion: Clonal complexes CC5 and CC8 were the most frequent clones detected among both the MSSA and the MRSA keratitis isolates. USA100 and USA300 clones were the dominant MRSA genotypes. The USA300 MRSA clone has become a leading cause of healthcareassociated keratitis in South Florida. The USA100 MRSA clone has emerged as an increasing cause of community-associated corneal infections in our outpatient population. This shifting epidemiology coupled with the increasing prevalence of multidrug resistance among both MSSA and MRSA keratitis is a cause of concern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-843
Number of pages13
JournalInfection and Drug Resistance
StatePublished - 2019


  • Clones
  • DNA microarray
  • MRSA
  • MSSA
  • USA100
  • USA300

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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