Emergence of MRSA of unknown origin in the Netherlands

W S N Lekkerkerk, N van de Sande-Bruinsma, M A B van der Sande, A Tjon-A-Tsien, A Groenheide, A Haenen, A Timen, P J van den Broek, W J B van Wamel, A J de Neeling, J H Richardus, H A Verbrugh, M C Vos

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The Netherlands is known for its low methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) prevalence. Yet MRSA with no link to established Dutch risk factors for acquisition, MRSA of unknown origin (MUO), has now emerged and hampers early detection and control by active screening upon hospital admittance. We assessed the magnitude of the problem and determined the differences between MUO and MRSA of known origin (MKO) for CC398 and non-CC398. National MRSA Surveillance data (2008-2009) were analysed for epidemiological determinants and genotypic characteristics (Panton-Valentine leukocidin, spa). A quarter (24%) of the 5545 MRSA isolates registered were MUO, i.e. not from defined risk groups. There are two genotypic MUO groups: CC398 MUO (352; 26%) and non-CC398 MUO (998; 74%). CC398 MUO needs further investigation because it could suggest spread, not by direct contact with livestock (pigs, veal calves), but through the community. Non-CC398 MUO is less likely to be from a nursing home than non-CC398 MKO (relative risk 0.55; 95% CI 0.42-0.72) and Panton-Valentine leukocidin positivity was more frequent in non-CC398 MUO than MKO (relative risk 1.19; 95% CI 1.11-1.29). Exact transmission routes and risk factors for non-CC398 as CC398 MUO remain undefined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)656-61
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Microbiology & Infection
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bacterial Toxins/genetics
  • Communicable Diseases, Emerging/epidemiology
  • Community-Acquired Infections/epidemiology
  • Cross Infection/epidemiology
  • Exotoxins/genetics
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Leukocidins/genetics
  • Male
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus/classification
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Typing
  • Netherlands/epidemiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections/epidemiology
  • Young Adult


Dive into the research topics of 'Emergence of MRSA of unknown origin in the Netherlands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this