Foodborne Origin and Local and Global Spread of Staphylococcus saprophyticus Causing Human Urinary Tract Infections

Opeyemi U Lawal, Maria J Fraqueza, Ons Bouchami, Peder Worning, Mette D Bartels, Maria L Gonçalves, Paulo Paixão, Elsa Gonçalves, Cristina Toscano, Joanna Empel, Małgorzata Urbaś, M Angeles Domínguez, Henrik Westh, Hermínia de Lencastre, Maria Miragaia


Staphylococcus saprophyticus is a primary cause of community-acquired urinary tract infections (UTIs) in young women. S. saprophyticus colonizes humans and animals but basic features of its molecular epidemiology are undetermined. We conducted a phylogenomic analysis of 321 S. saprophyticus isolates collected from human UTIs worldwide during 1997-2017 and 232 isolates from human UTIs and the pig-processing chain in a confined region during 2016-2017. We found epidemiologic and genomic evidence that the meat-production chain is a major source of S. saprophyticus causing human UTIs; human microbiota is another possible origin. Pathogenic S. saprophyticus belonged to 2 lineages with distinctive genetic features that are globally and locally disseminated. Pangenome-wide approaches identified a strong association between pathogenicity and antimicrobial resistance, phages, platelet binding proteins, and an increased recombination rate. Our study provides insight into the origin, transmission, and population structure of pathogenic S. saprophyticus and identifies putative new virulence factors.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)880-893
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Animals
  • Community-Acquired Infections
  • Humans
  • Staphylococcal Infections
  • Staphylococcus saprophyticus
  • Swine
  • Urinary Tract Infections
  • Virulence Factors


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