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J Vet Emerg Crit Care (San Antonio). 2010 Feb;20(1):31-45. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-4431.2009.00497.x.

A veterinary perspective on methicillin-resistant staphylococci.

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  • 1Department of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA. cohnl@missouri.edu



To familiarize the reader with the epidemiology, diagnosis, and infectious and zoonotic potential of methicillin-resistant staphylococci.


Original research publications, scientific reviews and abstracts, case reports, and conference proceedings.


Staphylococcus aureus is a common human commensal organism; acquisition of genes encoding an altered penicillin-binding protein confers resistance to beta-lactam antimicrobial drugs. Methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) are often resistant to non-beta-lactam antimicrobial drugs as well. Originally described as an important cause of nosocomial infection, MRSA colonization and infection are now often identified in humans outside healthcare settings. Like other S. aureus, MRSA may be present without clinical illness. However, when they do cause infection the consequences can be extremely serious.


The major domestic animal species, including pets and livestock, may become contaminated, colonized, or infected with methicillin-resistant staphylococci, including MRSA. Dogs and cats are more likely to be colonized/infected with Staphylococcus pseudintermedius than S. aureus, but this pathogen can acquire genes encoding methicillin resistance (ie, MRSP). Diagnosis of MRSA or MRSP has implications not only for treatment of infected animals, but for potential zoonotic transmission.


MRSA infection is an important cause of morbidity and mortality in humans. Animals may be contaminated, colonized, or infected with MRSA, with implications for the animal's health and as a potential reservoir for human infection. Staphylococci other than S. aureus may also acquire genes for methicillin resistance, and these species can also result in animal and occasionally human morbidity or mortality.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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