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Lett Appl Microbiol. 2007 Nov;45(5):535-9. Epub 2007 Oct 4.

Comparison of methods for the detection of methicillin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus isolates from food products.

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1
Department of Health and Animal Well-being, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Bari, Str. prov per Casamassima, km. 3, Valenzano, Bari, Italy. m.corrente@veterinaria.uniba.it

Abstract

AIMS:

To compare several methods for detection of methicillin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus isolates from food.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Two hundred S. aureus isolates from food of animal origin were screened for methicillin resistance by a PCR assay specific for the mecA gene, an oxacillin agar screen test and a cefoxitin disk diffusion test. Six out of 200 strains (3%) were found to be methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by PCR. The oxacillin agar screen test detected only one of the MRSA isolates (sensitivity of 16.7%) and mischaracterized three additional strains as MRSA (specificity of 98.45%). None of the MRSA strains was detected by the cefoxitin test (sensitivity of 0%), while 15 methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) strains were misclassified as resistant (specificity of 92.3%). Fifteen MSSA strains displayed a beta-lactamase hyperproducer-like phenotype. The six MRSA (mecA-positive) strains resembled the characteristics of heteroresistant strains.

CONCLUSIONS:

As MRSA of animal origin may display atypical phenotypes, PCR appears to be more reliable for detection of methicillin resistance in animal strains.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY:

The study stresses the need for implementing the methods of screening S. aureus from food of animal origin for methicillin resistance.

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