Transmission of highly virulent community-associated MRSA ST93 and livestock-associated MRSA ST398 between humans and pigs in Australia
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Pigs have been recognised as a reservoir of livestock associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) in Europe, Asia and North America. However, little is known about the presence and distribution of MRSA in the Australian pig population and pig industry. This study describes the presence, distribution and molecular characteristics of the human adapted Australian CA-MRSA ST93 isolated from pigs, people, and the environment within a piggery. Isolates were subjected to antibiotic susceptibility testing, DNA microarray, whole genome sequencing, multi locus sequence typing, virulence and resistance gene characterization and phylogenetic analysis. MRSA were isolated from 60% (n = 52) of farm workers where 84% of isolates returned ST93 and the rest ST398. Of the thirty-one pig isolates tested further, an equal number of ST398 and ST93 (15 each) and one as ST30-V were identified. Four of six environmental isolates were identified as ST93 and two as ST398. This study has identified for the first time in Australia the occurrence of CA-MRSA ST93 and LA-MRSA ST398 amongst farm workers, pigs, and the farm environment. Comparative genome analysis indicates that ST398 is likely to have been introduced into Australia from Europe or North America. This study also reports the first linezolid resistant MRSA isolated in Australia.
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