The objective was to characterize Staphylococcus aureus isolated from two wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) located in Tunis City (Tunisia), during the period 2014–2015. Genetic lineages, antibiotic resistance mechanisms and virulence factors were determined for the recovered isolates. S. aureus isolates were recovered from 12 of the 62 wastewater samples tested (19.35%), and one isolate/sample was characterized, all of them being methicillin-susceptible (MSSA). Six spa types (t587, t674, t224, t127, t701 and t1534) were found among the 12 isolates, and the spa-t587, associated with the new sequence type ST3245, was the most predominant one (7 isolates). The remaining isolates were assigned to five clonal complexes (CC5, CC97, CC1, CC6 and CC522) according to the sequence-type determined and/or the spa-type detected. S. aureus isolates were ascribed to agrI (n = 3), agrII (n = 7) and agrIII (n = 1); however, one isolate was non-typeable. S. aureus showed resistance to (number of isolates): penicillin (12), erythromycin (7), tetracycline (one) and clindamycin (one). Among the virulence factors investigated, only one isolate harboured the tst gene, encoding the TSST-1 (toxic shock syndrome toxin 1). Despite the low number of studied isolates, the present study reports the occurrence of both human- and animal-associated S. aureus clonal complexes in WWTPs in Tunisia.

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