Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and pig-farming

Abstract number: p474

van Dijke  B., Koppen  H., Wannet  W., Huijsdens  X., Neeling  H., Voss  A.


Sporadic cases of CA-MRSA in persons without risk-factors for MRSA carriage are increasing. We report a MRSA cluster among family members of a pig-farmer, his co-workers and his pigs. Initially a young mother was seen with mastitis due to MRSA. Six months later her baby daughter was admitted to the hospital with Pneumococcal otitis. After staying 5 days in hospital, the baby was found to be MRSA positive. At that point it was decided to look for a possible source, such as other family members and house-hold animals, including pigs on the farm, since those were reported as a possible source of MRSA earlier.


Swabs were taken from the throat and nares of family members and co-workers. A veterinarian obtained swabs from the nares, throat and perineum of 10 pigs. Swabs were cultured following a national protocol to detect MRSA that included the use of an enrichment broth. Animal and human strains were sent to the national MRSA reference centre (RIVM) for typing and genetic analysis, including PFGE, spa-typing, and MLST analysis.


Three of the four family members, three co-workers, and 8 of the 10 pigs were MRSA positive. With the exception of the initial case (the mother), all persons had no signs of clinical infections but were only colonized.

After digestion with SmaI, none of the strains showed any bands using PFGE. All isolates belonged to spa type t108. The isolates from the farmer and his wife had MLST type 398.


1. This report clearly shows clonal spread and transmission between humans and pigs in the Netherlands. 2. MLST type 398 might be of international importance as pig-MRSA, since this type was shown earlier to be present in epidemiologically unrelated French pigs and pig-farmers. 3. Research is needed to evaluate whether this is a local problem or a new source of MRSA, that puts the until now successful search and destroy policy of the Netherlands at risk.

Session Details

Date: 01/08/2007
Time: 00:00-00:00
Session name: XXIst ISTH Congress
Location: Oxford, UK
Presentation type:
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