Environmental contamination with Staphylococcus aureus at a large, Midwestern university campus.

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Environmental contamination with Staphylococcus aureus at a large, Midwestern university campus.

Sci Total Environ. 2017 May 15;599-600:1363-1368

Authors: Thapaliya D, Taha M, Dalman MR, Kadariya J, Smith TC

BACKGROUND: Staphylococcus aureus can cause minor to severe life-threatening infections. The changing epidemiology of S. aureus is of public health concern due to the emergence of multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains. Environmental surfaces play a crucial role in the transmission of S. aureus. The objective of this study was to examine environmental contamination and molecular characteristics of S. aureus in health professional-associated (HPA) and non-health professional-associated (NHPA) buildings at a large university.
METHODS: A total of 152 environmental surface samples were collected from two HPA and two NHPA campus buildings. Bacterial culture and diagnostics were done using standard microbiology methods. Polymerase chain reaction was conducted to detect mecA and PVL genes. All isolates were spa typed. A subset of isolates was characterized via multi-locus sequence typing (MLST). All S. aureus isolates were tested for antibiotic susceptibility.
RESULTS: The overall contamination of S. aureus and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) was 22.4% (34/152) and 5.9% (9/152) respectively. Similar prevalence of contamination was found in HPA and NHPA buildings. A total of 17 different spa types were detected among 34 S. aureus isolates. The majority of the MRSA isolates belonged to clonal complex (CC) 8. One isolate was positive for PVL. Eleven different sequence types (STs) were detected from 17 tested isolates. ST8 was the most common. Twelve isolates (35.3%) were MDR.
CONCLUSION: Almost 27% (9/34) of the isolates were MRSA. The highest contamination of S. aureus was found in high hand-touch areas such as door knobs, suggesting that human interaction in crowded environments such as academic institutions plays a crucial role in S. aureus/MRSA transmission via inanimate objects. Additionally, more than one-third of the isolates were MDR. These data reinforce the need to implement effective prevention strategies outside the healthcare setting to decrease the incidence of drug-resistant S. aureus infections.

PMID: 28525941 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]