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Typing of meticillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by whole genome sequencing (WGS) is performed routinely in Copenhagen since January 2013. We describe the relatedness, based on WGS data and epidemiological data, of 341 MRSA isolates. These comprised all MRSA (n = 300) identified in Copenhagen in the first five months of 2013. Moreover, because MRSA of staphylococcal protein A (spa)-type 304 (t304), sequence type (ST) 6 had been associated with a continuous neonatal ward outbreak in Copenhagen starting in 2011, 41 t304 isolates collected in the city between 2010 and 2012 were also included. Isolates from 2013 found to be of t304, ST6 (n=14) were compared to the 41 earlier isolates. In the study, isolates of clonal complex (CC) 22 were examined in detail, as this CC has been shown to include the hospital-acquired epidemic MRSA (EMRSA-15) clone. Finally, all MRSA ST80 were also further analysed, as representatives of an important community-acquired MRSA in Europe. Overall the analysis identified 85 spa-types and 35 STs from 17 CCs. WGS confirmed the relatedness of epidemiologically linked t304 neonatal outbreak isolates. Several non-outbreak related patients had isolates closely related to the neonatal isolates suggesting unrecognised community chains of transmission and insufficient epidemiological data. Only four CC22 isolates were related to EMRSA-15. No community spread was observed among the 13 ST80 isolates. WGS successfully replaced conventional typing and added information to epidemiological surveillance. Creation of a MRSA database allows clustering of isolates based on single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) calling and has improved our understanding of MRSA transmission.


Journal article


Euro Surveill

Publication Date





Bacterial Toxins, Denmark, Exotoxins, Genome, Bacterial, Humans, Leukocidins, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Molecular Epidemiology, Molecular Typing, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Staphylococcal Infections, Staphylococcal Protein A