Virulence genes in Staphylococcus aureus isolated from cell phone screens of dentistry students in Cuenca-Ecuador
Staphylococcus aureus is one of the main pathogens of importance in health care. Distributed worldwide, it has considerable impact on community and nosocomial infections. This bacteria has the tst and lukS-F PV genes that code for the TSST-1 toxin and leucocidin. These pathogenic microorganisms have the ability to survive for long periods on inert surfaces such as mobile phone screens. Senior dentistry students work in clinics and use their cell phones often, which could potentially spread this pathogen. We looked for the tst and lukS-F PV genes in S. aureus isolated from mobile phone screens of final year dentistry students. This was a descriptive cross-sectional observational study using 92 samples from the mobile phone screens of dental students, among which 16 were positive for S. aureus. They were identified by means of culture methods and detection of the nuc, nucA and femB genes. The DNA was extracted using the alkaline lysis method; PCR was used in the molecular identification of the tst and lukS-F PV genes. Nine of the 16 S. aureus isolates had the tst gene, and 1/16 the lukS-F PV gene. This study shows the high frequency of virulent S. aureus on the mobile phone screens of dental students, which may contribute to the spread of this important pathogen.