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Epidemiol Infect. 2010 May;138(5):743-55. doi: 10.1017/S0950268810000075. Epub 2010 Jan 29.

Prevalence of livestock-associated MRSA in broiler flocks and risk factors for slaughterhouse personnel in The Netherlands.

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Centre for Infectious Disease Control Netherlands (CIb), National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), NL-3720 BA Bilthoven, The Netherlands.


To determine methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) carriage in poultry and slaughterhouse personnel, 40 Dutch broiler flocks, in six slaughterhouses and 466 personnel were sampled. Of the employees, 26 were positive (5.6%), indicating a higher risk of exposure when compared to the general Dutch population (0.1%). This risk was significantly higher for personnel having contact with live animals (5.2%) - especially hanging broilers on the slaughterline (20.0%) - than for all other personnel (1.9%). Conventional electric stunning conferred a significantly higher risk of MRSA carriage for employees than CO2 stunning (9.7% vs. 2.0%). A total of 405 broilers were sampled upon their arrival at the slaughterhouse, of which 6.9% were positive. These broilers originated from 40 Dutch slaughter flocks of which 35.0% were positive. MRSA contamination in the different compartments of slaughterhouses increased during the production day, from 8% to 35%. Of the 119 MRSA isolates, predominantly livestock-associated MRSA ST398 was found, although 27.7% belonged to ST9 (spa type t1430). There is an increased risk of MRSA carriage in personnel working at broiler slaughterhouses, particularly those having contact with live animals.

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