Dr Beverly Egyir

Dr Beverly Egyir (University of Ghana)

Research title: Whole Genome Sequence Profiling of Antibiotic Resistant Staphylococcus aureus isolates from Livestock in Ghana

Research project: Staphylococcus aureus can colonize and cause serious infections in humans and animals. Livestock and humans colonized with S. aureus represent significant reservoirs for transmission of methicillin susceptible and methicillin resistant S. aureus (MRSA) strains. Close contact of humans to livestock may facilitate a bi-directional transmission of S. aureus. The recent detection of the pandemic ST398 MRSA among livestock in western countries has raised a global interest in the epidemiology of livestock associated S. aureus. Unlike sub-Saharan Africa, the public health impact of S. aureus as a zoonotic pathogen has been emphasized among livestock (cattle and pigs) in several western countries. Recent studies in Ghana have indicated high prevalence of resistance to penicillin and tetracycline, and the presence of epidemic methicillin resistant S. aureus clones among carriage and clinical S. aureus isolates. Additionally, Panton Valentine leukocidin (PVL) toxin, the virulence factor associated with severe necrotizing pneumonia and skin and soft tissue infections was predominantly detected among the isolates from this country. Information on epidemiology of S. aureus among livestock in Ghana is however not available. Therefore, the objective of this study is to characterize S. aureus isolates from livestock to determine if they differed from those found in humans with respect to antimicrobial resistance, genotypic diversity and content of virulence determinants. Clonal relationships between multi-drug resistant isolates from livestock and humans will be assessed using whole genome sequencing. The findings of this study will contribute to improve antimicrobial policies and will provide baseline information for future studies in Ghana.

Collaborator: Dr Mark Holmes, Department of Veterinary Medicine