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Trends Microbiol. 2012 Apr;20(4):192-8. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2012.01.006. Epub 2012 Mar 1.

Livestock-associated Staphylococcus aureus: origin, evolution and public health threat.

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The Roslin Institute and Edinburgh Infectious Diseases, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Campus, Edinburgh EH25 NRG, UK.


Staphylococcus aureus is a major pathogen responsible for severe nosocomial and community-associated infections of humans and infections of economically important livestock species. In recent years, studies into livestock-associated S. aureus including methicillin-resistant (MRSA) strains have provided new information regarding their origin and host adaptation, and their capacity to cause zoonotic infections of humans. Furthermore, a potential role for human activities such as domestication and industrialisation in the emergence of S. aureus clones affecting livestock has been highlighted. Here, I summarise recent developments in this emerging field and suggest questions of importance for future research efforts.

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