Phenotypic and genomic profiling of staphylococcus argenteus in Canada and the United States and recommendations for clinical result reporting

Ali Reza Eshaghi, Carl Bommersbach, Sandra Zittermann, Carey Ann D. Burnham, Robin Patel, Audrey N. Schuetz, Samir N. Patel, Julianne V. Kusa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Staphylococcus argenteus is a newly described species, formerly known as S. aureus clonal complex 75 (CC75). Here, we describe the largest collection of S. argenteus isolates in North America, highlighting identification challenges. We present phenotypic and genomic characteristics and provide recommendations for clinical reporting. Between 2017 and 2019, 22 isolates of S. argenteus were received at 2 large reference laboratories for identification. Identification with routine methods (biochemical, matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization–time of flight mass spectrometry [MALDI-TOF MS], 16S rRNA gene analysis) proved challenging to confidently distinguish these isolates from S. aureus. Whole-genome sequencing analysis was employed to confirm identifications. Using several different sequence-based analyses, all clinical isolates under investigation were confirmed to be S. argenteus with clear differentiation from S. aureus. Seven of 22 isolates were recovered from sterile sites, 11 from nonsterile sites, and 4 from surveillance screens. While sequence types ST1223/coa type XV, ST2198/coa type XIV, and ST2793/coa type XId were identified among the Canadian isolates, the majority of isolates (73%) belonged to multilocus sequence types (MLST) ST2250/coa type XId and exhibited a high degree of homology at the genomic level. Despite this similarity, 5 spa types were identified among ST2250 isolates, demonstrating some diversity between strains. Several isolates carried mecA, as well as other resistance and virulence determinants (e.g., PVL, TSST-1) commonly associated with S. aureus. Based on our findings, the growing body of literature on S. argenteus, the potential severity of infections, and possible confusion associated with reporting, including use of incorrect breakpoints for susceptibility results, we make recommendations for clinical laboratories regarding this organism.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere02470-20
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Bacterial identification
  • MecA
  • Sequence types
  • Staphylococcus argenteus
  • Staphylococcus aureus clonal complex
  • Whole-genome sequencing


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