At our tertiary children's hospital, infections with newly detected methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) among children attending primary (age 6-12 years) and secondary school (age 13-16 years) nearly doubled in 2018 compared to previous years. This observation initiated an epidemiological outbreak investigation including phenotypic (susceptibility testing) and genotypic (whole genome sequencing) characterization of the isolates. In addition, a cross-sectional study was conducted to determine source of the outbreak, colonization frequency and to identify risk factors for transmission using a questionnaire. As a result, 49 individuals were detected with 57 corresponding isolates. Based on the case definition combined with whole genome sequencing, a core cluster was identified that shared common genetic features and a similar antimicrobial susceptibility pattern (efflux-mediated macrolide resistance, tetracycline susceptibility along with presence of Panton-Valentine leukocidin). Epidemiologic evaluation identified a distinct school as a common risk factor. However, the source of the clustered infections within that school could not be further specified. No further cases could be detected after decolonization of infected and colonized children.
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