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Isolation and characterization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from pork farms and visiting veterinary students.

Frana-TS; Beahm-AR; Hanson-BM; Kinyon-JM; Layman-LL; Karriker-LA; Ramirez-A; Smith-TC
PLoS One 2013 Jan; 8(1):e53738
In the last decade livestock-associated methicillin-resistant S. aureus (LA-MRSA) has become a public health concern in many parts of the world. Sequence type 398 (ST398) has been the most commonly reported type of LA-MRSA. While many studies have focused on long-term exposure experienced by swine workers, this study focuses on short-term exposures experienced by veterinary students conducting diagnostic investigations. The objectives were to assess the rate of MRSA acquisition and longevity of carriage in students exposed to pork farms and characterize the recovered MRSA isolates. Student nasal swabs were collected immediately before and after farm visits. Pig nasal swabs and environmental sponge samples were also collected. MRSA isolates were identified biochemically and molecularly including spa typing and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Thirty (30) veterinary students were enrolled and 40 pork farms were visited. MRSA was detected in 30% of the pork farms and in 22% of the students following an exposure to a MRSA-positive pork farm. All students found to be MRSA-positive initially following farm visit were negative for MRSA within 24 hours post visit. Most common spa types recovered were t002 (79%), t034 (16%) and t548 (4%). Spa types found in pork farms closely matched those recovered from students with few exceptions. Resistance levels to antimicrobials varied, but resistance was most commonly seen for spectinomycin, tetracyclines and neomycin. Non-ST398 MRSA isolates were more likely to be resistant to florfenicol and neomycin as well as more likely to be multidrug resistant compared to ST398 MRSA isolates. These findings indicate that MRSA can be recovered from persons visiting contaminated farms. However, the duration of carriage was very brief and most likely represents contamination of nasal passages rather than biological colonization. The most common spa types found in this study were associated with ST5 and expands the range of livestock-associated MRSA types.
Bacteria; Bacterial-infections; Bacterial-disease; Humans; Men; Women; Exposure-levels; Risk-factors; Children; Animals; Farmers; Agriculture; Pharmacology; Microbiology; Livestock; Livestock-industry; Diseases
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-K01-OH-009793; M082013
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Public Library of Science One
Performing Organization
University of Iowa