Comparison of multilocus sequence typing and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis as tools for typing Staphylococcus aureus isolates in a microepidemiological setting.
Peacock SJ., de Silva GDI., Justice A., Cowland A., Moore CE., Winearls CG., Day NPJ.
Multilocus sequence typing (MLST) of Staphylococcus aureus is well suited to the study of global or long-term epidemiology, but its role in local epidemiology has not been defined. The present study has compared MLST with pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) by using S. aureus isolates associated with carriage and disease in a busy regional renal unit. One hundred forty-four patients were prospectively recruited, of whom 103 were receiving hemodialysis and 41 were on continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis. Three nasal swab specimens were obtained 1 month apart on entering the study. A nasal swab was positive for S. aureus on at least one occasion in 50 patients (35%). Typing of the 104 carriage isolates demonstrated 21 PFGE types and 21 sequence types (STs). Thirty-one carriers had two or more positive nasal swabs; of these, the isolates in all swabs from a given carrier had identical PFGE types for 29 carriers; the isolates in all of the same 29 swabs had identical STs. The carriage strain in two patients changed both PFGE type and STs during the period of swabbing. Eight patients (6%) had an episode of S. aureus bacteremia during the 12-month study period, and two of these were nasal carriers. One of these invasive isolates had the same PFGE type and ST as the carriage isolate. There were no differences between Simpson's index of diversity for PFGE and Simpson's index of diversity for MLST for both invasive and carriage isolates, suggesting that the two methods have very similar discriminatory abilities. We conclude that PFGE and MLST performed equally in this study.