Staphylococcus aureus is a leading cause of bacteremia in hospitalized patients. Whether or not S. aureus bacteremia (SAB) is associated with clonality, implicating potential nosocomial transmission, has not, however, been investigated. Herein, we examined the epidemiology of SAB using whole genome sequencing (WGS). 152 SAB isolates collected over the course of 2015 at a single large Minnesota medical center were studied. Staphylococcus protein A (spa) typing was performed by PCR/Sanger sequencing; multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and core genome MLST (cgMLST) were determined by WGS. Forty-eight isolates (32%) were methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The isolates encompassed 66 spa types, clustered into 11 spa clonal complexes (CCs) and 10 singleton types. 88% of 48 MRSA isolates belonged to spa CC-002 or-008. Methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) isolates were more genotypically diverse, with 61% distributed across four spa CCs (CC-002, CC-012, CC-008 and CC-084). By MLST, there was 31 sequence types (STs), including 18 divided into 6 CCs and 13 singleton STs. Amongst MSSA isolates, the common MLST clones were CC5 (23%), CC30 (19%), CC8 (15%) and CC15 (11%). Common MRSA clones were CC5 (67%) and CC8 (25%); there were no MRSA isolates in CC45 or CC30. By cgMLST analysis, there were 9 allelic differences between two isolates, with the remaining 150 isolates differing from each other by over 40 alleles. The two isolates were retroactively epidemiologically linked by medical record review. Overall, cgMLST analysis resulted in higher resolution epidemiological typing than did multilocus sequence or spa typing.
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