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Vet J. 2008 Jan;175(1):27-36. Epub 2007 Jan 9.

Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in animals: a review.

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  • 1School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College, Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.


The objectives of this paper are to review published data on the prevalence and epidemiology of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection and colonization in animals and to provide suggestions for preventing and controlling the problem in veterinary practice. MRSA first emerged as a serious pathogen in human medicine during the late 1970s and has been increasingly reported in animals during the past 10 years. The prevalence of MRSA in human infections varies markedly between geographical areas, being as high as 60% in parts of the USA, 40% in southern Europe but <1% in northern Europe. Epidemiological evidence, including phenotypic and molecular typing data, suggests that MRSA isolates from dogs and cats are indistinguishable from human healthcare isolates, whereas strains of MRSA isolated from horses and associated personnel are different. There is evidence that transfer of MRSA strains can occur between animals and humans and vice versa. Guidelines for the control of MRSA in animals have been drawn up by individual institutions based on those available for human MRSA infection. Risk factors for MRSA infection in animals are currently under investigation and such data are essential for the preparation of specific guidelines for control of MRSA in veterinary practice.

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