From August 2004 to July 2005, 210 clinical methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates were collected prospectively from 173 children admitted to Chang Gung Children's Hospital in Taiwan. A comparative molecular analysis of the 111 community-associated (CA) isolates from 102 children and the 99 healthcare-associated (HA) isolates from 71 children was conducted. In comparison to the HA isolates (31%), the CA isolates (90%) were more likely to have been isolated from pus (p <5 × 10-8). For each patient with MRSA infection, only the first isolate was selected for molecular analysis. The molecular characteristics differed significantly between the CA and the HA isolates (p < 5 × 10-8). The clone characterized as sequence type (ST)59/pulsotype D (similar to USA1000)/staphylococcal chromosomal cassette (SCC) mec VT/ Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL)-positive accounted for 69% of the CA isolates, and another clone, characterized as ST239/pulsotype. A (Hungary clone)/SCCmec III/PVL-negative, accounted for 45% of the 71 HA isolates. The CA clone of ST59 also accounted for 20% of the HA isolates, including 47% of the 17 community-onset isolates. It was concluded that the molecular characteristics of clinical MRSA isolates from children differed significantly between the CA and the HA isolates in northern Taiwan. However, the CA clone of ST59 was also identified in a substantial proportion of HA isolates.
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