Objectives: Between 1998 and 2000, 95.6% of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteraemias in the UK were due to two epidemic strains, namely EMRSA-15 or EMRSA-16 (60.2% and 35.4%, respectively). We sought to determine the proportions of these strains before and after the general decline in MRSA bacteraemia that began around 2004. Methods: Consecutive MRSA isolates collected in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 by the BSAC Bacteraemia Surveillance Programme were categorized to multilocus sequence typing (MLST) clonal complex and to SCCmec type by PCR. MICs were determined by the BSAC method. Data trends were tested for significance using a generalized linear regression model. Results: Collectively, EMRSA-15 and EMRSA-16 consistently accounted for ~95% of MRSA studied between 2001 and 2007, but the proportions of EMRSA-16 declined from 21.4% in 2001 to 9% in 2007 (P<0.05), whilst the proportion of EMRSA-15 rose commensurately, accounting for 85% of MRSA in 2007. Ciprofloxacin and erythromycin resistance were common amongst both EMRSA-15 and EMRSA-16. Conclusions: EMRSA-15 and EMRSA-16 remain the main MRSA strains in bacteraemia in the UK, but the proportion of EMRSA-16 declined from the late 1990s, thus preceding the general decline in MRSA bacteraemias that began in the middle of the present decade.
- Bloodstream infections