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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in horses and horse personnel: an investigation of several outbreaks.

Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, PO Box 80165, 3508 TD Utrecht, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.
Veterinary Microbiology (Impact Factor: 3.13). 09/2009; 141(1-2):96-102. DOI:10.1016/j.vetmic.2009.08.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT At the Veterinary Microbiological Diagnostic Center, the Netherlands, the percentage of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolates found in equine clinical samples increased from 0% in 2002 to 37% in 2008. MRSA of spa-type t064, belonging to MLST ST8 and spa-types t011 and t2123, both belonging to the livestock-associated MLST ST398, predominated. During an outbreak of post-surgical MRSA infections in horses at a veterinary teaching hospital in 2006/2007, MRSA isolates of spa-type t2123 were cultured from 7 horses and 4/61 personnel which indicated zoonotic transmission. After intervention the outbreak stopped. However, another outbreak occurred in 2008, where 17 equine MRSA isolates of spa-type t011 (n=12), t2123 (n=4), and t064 (n=1) were found. This time, 16/170 personnel were positive for MRSA with spa-type t011 (n=11) and t2123 (n=5). Personnel in close contact with horses were more often MRSA-positive (15/106) than those without (1/64). Screening of horses upon admission showed that 9.3% were MRSA-positive predominantly with spa-type t011. Weekly cross-sectional sampling of all hospitalized horses for 5 weeks showed that 42% of the horses were MRSA-positive at least once, again predominantly with spa-type t011, which suggests that nosocomial transmission took place. Fifty-three percent of the environmental samples were MRSA-positive, including samples from students' and staff members' rooms, and all were spa-type t011. This indicates that humans contribute to spreading the organism. Culturing of samples employing high-salt pre-enrichment performed better than a comparable method without pre-enrichment. Our results show that nosocomial transmission occurs in equine clinics and suggests that personnel play a role in the transmission.

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    ABSTRACT: The role that environmental contamination might play as a reservoir and a possible source of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) for patients and personnel at equine veterinary hospitals remains undefined, as the environment has only been monitored during outbreaks or for short periods. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to determine the monthly presence, distribution, and characteristics of environmental MRSA at an equine hospital, and to establish patterns of contamination over time using molecular epidemiological analyses. For this purpose, a yearlong active MRSA surveillance was performed targeting the environment and incoming patients. Antimicrobial susceptibility testing, SCCmec typing, PFGE typing, and dendrographic analysis were used to characterize and analyze these isolates. Overall, 8.6% of the surfaces and 5.8% of the horses sampled were positive for MRSA. The most common contaminated surfaces were: computers, feed-water buckets, and surgery tables-mats. Ninety percent of the isolates carried SCCmec type IV, and 62.0% were classified as USA500. Molecular analysis showed that new pulsotypes were constantly introduced into the hospital throughout the year. However, maintenance of strains in the environment was also observed when unique clones were detected for 2 consecutive months on the same surfaces. Additionally, pulsotypes were circulating throughout several areas and different contact surfaces of the hospital. Based on these results, it is evident that MRSA is constantly introduced and frequently found in the equine hospital environment, and that some contact surfaces could act as "hot-spots". These contaminated surfaces should be actively targeted for strict cleaning and disinfection as well as regular monitoring.
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    ABSTRACT: Staphylococcus (S.) aureus is an important cause of wound infections in companion animals, and infections with methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) are of particular concern due to limited treatment options and their zoonotic potential. However, comparable epidemiological data on MRSA infections in dogs, cats and horses is scarce, also limiting the knowledge about possible links to MRSA isolates from human populations. To gain more knowledge about the occurrence and genotypic variation of MRSA among wound swabs of companion animal origin in Germany we performed a survey (2010-2012) including 5,229 samples from 1,170 veterinary practices. S. aureus was identified in 201 (5.8%) canine, 140 (12.2%) feline and 138 (22.8%) equine swabs from a total of 3,479 canine, 1,146 feline and 604 equine wounds, respectively. High MRSA rates were identified with 62.7%, 46.4% and 41.3% in S. aureus of canine, feline and equine origin, respectively. Further genotyping including spa typing and multilocus sequence typing (MLST) revealed a comparable distribution of spa types among canine and feline MRSA with CC22 (47.6%; 49.2%) and CC5 (30.2%; 29.2%) as predominant lineages followed by CC398 (13.5%; 7.7%) and CC8 (4.0%; 9.2%). In contrast, the majority of equine MRSA belonged to CC398 (87.7%). Our data highlight the importance of S. aureus and MRSA as a cause of wound infections, particularly in cats and horses in Germany. While "human-associated" MRSA lineages were most common in dogs and cats, a remarkable number of CC398-MRSA was detected in horses, indicating a replacement of CC8-MRSA as the predominant lineage within horses in Germany. These data enforce further longitudinal epidemiological approaches to examine the diversity and temporal relatedness of MRSA populations in humans and animals to assess probable sources of MRSA infections. This would enable a sound risk assessment and establishment of intervention strategies to limit the additional spread of MRSA.
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