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Multidrug-resistant and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in hog slaughter and processing plant workers and their community in North Carolina (USA).

Neyra RC; Frisancho JA; Rinsky JL; Resnick C; Carroll KC; Rule AM; Ross T; You Y; Price LB; Silbergeld EK
Environ Health Perspect 2014 May; 122(5):471-477
BACKGROUND: Use of antimicrobials in industrial food-animal production is associated with the presence of antimicrobial-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) among animals and humans. Hog slaughter/processing plants process large numbers of animals from industrial animal operations and are environments conducive to the exchange of bacteria between animals and workers. OBJECTIVES: We compared the prevalence of multidrug-resistant S. aureus (MDRSA) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) carriage among processing plant workers, their household members, and community residents. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study of hog slaughter/processing plant workers, their household members, and community residents in North Carolina. Participants responded to a questionnaire and provided a nasal swab. Swabs were tested for S. aureus, and isolates were tested for antimicrobial susceptibility and subjected to multilocus sequence typing. RESULTS: The prevalence of S. aureus was 21.6%, 30.2%, and 22.5% among 162 workers, 63 household members, and 111 community residents, respectively. The overall prevalence of MDRSA and MRSA tested by disk diffusion was 6.9% and 4.8%, respectively. The adjusted prevalence of MDRSA among workers was 1.96 times (95% CI: 0.71, 5.45) the prevalence in community residents. The adjusted average number of antimicrobial classes to which S. aureus isolates from workers were resistant was 2.54 times (95% CI: 1.16, 5.56) the number among isolates from community residents. We identified two MDRSA isolates and one MRSA isolate from workers as sequence type 398, a type associated with exposure to livestock. CONCLUSIONS: Although the prevalence of S. aureus and MRSA was similar in hog slaughter/processing plant workers and their household and community members, S. aureus isolates from workers were resistant to a greater number of antimicrobial classes. These findings may be related to the nontherapeutic use of antimicrobials in food-animal production.
Animals; Food; Livestock-foods; Livestock; Livestock-industry; Microbiology; Bacteria; Food-processing-industry; Food-processing; Questionnaires; Statistical-analysis; Pathogenicity; Meat-handlers; Meat-packing-industry
E.K. Silbergeld, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 615 N. Wolfe St., Baltimore, MD 21205
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R21-OH-009829; M122014
Issue of Publication
Source Name
Environmental Health Perspectives
Performing Organization
Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore
Page last reviewed: June 10, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division