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Vet Microbiol. 2008 Jun 22;129(3-4):410-7. doi: 10.1016/j.vetmic.2007.11.031. Epub 2007 Dec 4.

Evaluation of prevalence and risk factors for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus colonization in veterinary personnel attending an international equine veterinary conference.

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Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, Canada.


Infection and colonization with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) are now increasingly being reported in animals and people who work with animals, including horses and horse personnel. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the prevalence of MRSA colonization in veterinary personnel attending an international equine veterinary conference, and to identify risk factors for MRSA colonization in this group. Volunteers were recruited at the conference to provide a single nasal swab and complete a questionnaire regarding contact with the human health care system, contact with horses, and personal hand hygiene. Colonization with MRSA was found in 26/257 (10.1%) of study participants. Multivariable analysis showed an increased risk of MRSA colonization associated with having been diagnosed with or having treated a patient diagnosed with MRSA colonization or infection in the last year (odds ratio [OR] 8.41, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.51-49.92, P=0.015; OR 3.27, 95% CI 1.05-10.11, P=0.039, respectively), whereas hand washing between infectious cases (OR 0.27, 95% CI 0.11-0.72, P=0.009) and hand washing between farms (OR 0.35, 95% CI 0.14-0.98, P=0.047) were protective. The prevalence of MRSA colonization among equine veterinary personnel found in this study was high compared to that of other studies of the general population. These data support previous suggestions that equine veterinary personnel are at increased risk of colonization with MRSA. This is the first study to demonstrate a statistically significant association between hand hygiene practices and a measurable clinical outcome in veterinary medicine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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