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Vet Microbiol. 2008 Jan 25;126(4):383-9. Epub 2007 Jul 25.

Transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus strains between different kinds of pig farms.

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Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, PO Box 80165, Utrecht University, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands.


The main objective of the present study was to investigate if different kinds of pig farms, like farrowing farms and rearing farms, play a role in the transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) to Dutch finishing farms. Twelve farrowing farms, 11 finishing farms, 6 farrow-to finish farms, 1 rearing farm and 1 centre for artificial insemination were included. Screening of 310 pigs from these 31 farms showed 35 pigs (11%) to carry MRSA in their nares. On 7 of the 31 (23%) investigated farms colonized pigs were found, including 3 finishing farms, 3 farrowing farms and 1 farrow-to-finish farm. The use of standard antimicrobial medication of the pigs seemed to be a risk factor for MRSA carriage. Screening of the pigs on six farms supplying pigs for the MRSA positive farms revealed that the pigs on all but one farm were MRSA positive. Genotyping revealed that all MRSA strains were non-typeable by PFGE using the SmaI restriction enzyme and had multilocus sequence type (MLST) ST398. Different spa-types were found including t011, t108, t567, t899 and t1939, but the spa-types on epidemiologically related farms were identical indicating that MRSA are transmitted between farms through the purchase of colonized pigs. Two SCCmec types were found among the MRSA: type IV and type V. SCCmec type V was predominant. On two farms MRSA isolates with ST398, the same spa-type but with different SCCmec types (IV and V) were found, suggesting that different SCCmec elements have been inserted into MSSA with the same genotype. All MRSA strains were resistant to tetracycline, but additional resistances to erythromycin, lincomycin, kanamycin and gentamicin were also found. All MRSA isolates were negative for the exfoliative toxin genes (eta and etb), PVL toxin genes (lukF and lukS), toxic shock syndrome gene (tst-1), and the leukotoxin genes (lukE, lukD, lukM, lukF').

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