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Emerg Infect Dis. 2007 Dec;13(12):1834-9. doi: 10.3201/eid1312.070384.

Emergence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus of animal origin in humans.

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Elisabeth Hospital, Tilburg, the Netherlands.


In 2003 in the Netherlands, a new methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strain emerged that could not be typed with Sma1 pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (NT-MRSA). The association of NT-MRSA in humans with a reservoir in animals was investigated. The frequency of NT-MRSA increased from 0% in 2002 to >21% after intensified surveillance was implemented in July 2006. Geographically, NT-MRSA clustered with pig farming. A case-control study showed that carriers of NT-MRSA were more often pig or cattle farmers (pig farmers odds ratio [OR] 12.2, 95% confidence interval [CI] 3.1-48.6; cattle farmers OR 19.7, 95% CI 2.3-169.5). Molecular typing showed that the NT-MRSA strains belonged to a new clonal complex, ST 398. This study shows that MRSA from an animal reservoir has recently entered the human population and is now responsible for >20% of all MRSA in the Netherlands.

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