Staphylococcus argenteus transmission among healthy Royal Marines: A molecular epidemiology case-study

Elita Jauneikaite*, Bruno Pichon, Mia Mosavie, Joanne L. Fallowfield, Trish Davey, Neil Thorpe, Andrew Nelstrop, Shiranee Sriskandan, Lucy E. Lamb

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives During a prospective study of S. aureus carriage in Royal Marines recruits, six S. argenteus strains were identified in four recruits. As S. argenteus sepsis leads to mortality similar to S. aureus, we determined the potential for within same troop transmission, to evaluate future outbreak risk. Methods We used whole-genome sequencing to characterise S. argenteus and investigate phylogenetic relationships between isolates. Results S. argenteus strains (t5078, ST2250) were detected in 4/40 recruits in the same troop (training cohort) in weeks 1, 6 or 15 of training. No mec, tsst or LukPV genes were detected. We identified differences of 1–17 core SNPs between S. argenteus from different recruits. In two recruits, two S. argenteus strains were isolated; these could be distinguished by 2 and 15 core SNPs. Conclusions The identification of S. argenteus within a single troop from the total recruit population suggests a common source for transmission, though high number of SNPs were identified, both within-host and within-cluster. The high number of SNPs between some isolates may indicate a common source of diverse isolates or a high level of S. argenteus mutation in carriage. S. argenteus is newly recognized species; and understanding of the frequency of genetic changes during transmission and transition from asymptomatic carriage to disease is required.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Infection
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank the CTCRM Medical Centre for support with sample collection. This study was funded by the Surgeon General's Research Strategy Group, Ministry of Defence. EJ, MM, BP, SS and LEL acknowledge support from the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance in partnership with Public Health England (PHE), in collaboration with, Imperial Healthcare Partners, University of Cambridge and University of Warwick. SS acknowledges the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the National Institute for Health Research, the Department of Health and Social Care or Public Health England. EJ is an Imperial College Research Fellow, funded by Rosetrees Trust and the Stoneygate Trust.

Funding Information:
The authors thank the CTCRM Medical Centre for support with sample collection. This study was funded by the Surgeon General's Research Strategy Group, Ministry of Defence. EJ, MM, BP, SS and LEL acknowledge support from the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Healthcare Associated Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance in partnership with Public Health England (PHE), in collaboration with, Imperial Healthcare Partners, University of Cambridge and University of Warwick. SS acknowledges the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the National Institute for Health Research, the Department of Health and Social Care or Public Health England. EJ is an Imperial College Research Fellow, funded by Rosetrees Trust and the Stoneygate Trust.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021

Keywords

  • ST2250
  • Staphylococcus argenteus, carriage
  • Whole genome sequencing

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