Frequent isolation of methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) ST398 among healthy pigs in Portugal

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Background Although livestock-associated ST398 methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has been widely reported in different geographic regions, MRSA carriage studies among healthy pigs in Portugal are very limited. Methods and findings In total, 101 swine nasal samples from two Portuguese farms were screened for MRSA. In addition five swine workers (including one veterinary and one engineer) and four household members were nasally screened. The isolates were characterized by spa typing, SCCmec typing and MLST. All isolates were tested for antimicrobial susceptibility, presence of mecA and mecC genes, and virulence determinants. MRSA prevalence in swine was 99% (100/101), 80% (4/5) in swine workers and 25% (1/4) in household members. All isolates belonged to ST398 distributed over two spa types-t011 (57%) and t108 (42%). SCCmec type V was present in most of the isolates (n = 95; 82%) while 21 isolates amplified the mecA gene only and were classified as nontypeable. The majority of the isolates were resistant to tetracycline (100%), clindamycin (97%), erythromycin (96%), chloramphenicol (84%) and gentamycin (69%). Notably, 12% showed resistance to quinupristin-dalfopristin (MICs 3-8 μg/mL). Beta-hemolysin (81%) and gammahemolysin (74%) were the unique virulence determinants detected. None of the isolates harboured PVL or mecC gene. Conclusions This study showed a massive occurrence of ST398-MRSA in two independent swine farms, highlighting its establishment among healthy pigs in Portugal.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0175340
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


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