Epidemiological survey of the first case of vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection in Europe

Epidemiol Infect. 2015 Mar;143(4):745-8. doi: 10.1017/S0950268814001423. Epub 2014 Jun 5.


We report on the follow-up and epidemiological study triggered by the isolation of the first vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA) detected in Europe. The patient and 53 close contacts were screened for S. aureus colonization and all isolates recovered were characterized by multiple molecular typing methods. The VRSA remained confined to the infected foot of the patient and was not detected in any of the close contacts. Nasal colonization with S. aureus was detected in 20 subjects, of whom 15 carried methicilin-susceptible isolates with the remaining five harbouring methicilin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The majority of the isolates belonged to clones that have been previously shown to be prevalent in Portugal, both in the hospital setting and in the community. Only one isolate, an MRSA, was closely related to the VRSA. Like most of the characterized VRSA isolates from other countries, the VRSA isolated in Portugal belonged to clonal complex (CC) 5. Despite the absence of VRSA dissemination, the recent increase in the incidence of lineages belonging to CC5 in some European countries, including Portugal, may result in more frequent opportunities for the emergence of VRSA.

Keywords: S. aureus (MRSA).

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / genetics
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Phylogeny
  • Portugal / epidemiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / drug therapy*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Vancomycin Resistance*