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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2012 Apr;78(8):2797-802. doi: 10.1128/AEM.07470-11. Epub 2012 Feb 3.

Commercially distributed meat as a potential vehicle for community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

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Oita Prefectural Institute of Health and Environment, Oita,a Aichi Prefectural Institute of Public Health, Aichi.


The incidence of community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (CA-MRSA) infection has been increasing; however, the sources of infection remain unclear. Therefore, we investigated the involvement of meat as a possible mediator of CA-MRSA infection. We examined the distribution of MRSA strains in commercially distributed raw meat samples (n = 197) and diarrheal stool samples of outpatients (n = 1,287) that were collected in Oita Prefecture, Japan, between 2003 and 2009 for routine legal inspections. Fourteen MRSA strains were isolated from three meat and 11 stool samples. Among these, seven isolates from three meat and four stool samples exhibited the same epidemiological marker profiles [coagulase type III, staphylococcal enterotoxin C, staphylococcal chromosomal cassette mec (SCCmec) type IV, ST8, spa type 606 (t1767), and toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) producing type]. Furthermore, of the seven strains, three isolates from two meat samples and one stool sample collected in 2007 exhibited completely identical characteristics with respect to phage open reading frame (ORF) typing, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and drug susceptibility profiles. The results suggest that commercially distributed meat could play a role in the prevalence of CA-MRSA in the community.

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