Heterogeneity among methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from Italian pig finishing holdings

A. Battisti, A. Franco, G. Merialdi, Henrik Hasman, M. Iurescia, R. Lorenzetti, F. Feltrin, M. Zini, Frank Møller Aarestrup

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A survey for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in finishing pig holdings was carried out in Italy in 2008. MRSA isolates were characterised by spa-. SCCmec- and antimicrobial susceptibility typing. A prevalence of 38% (45/118, 95% CI 29.4-46.9%) positive holdings was observed. Eleven different spa-types were found among 102 MRSA isolates, clustering in lineages associated with farm animals (ST398, ST9, ST(CC)97 in 36 holdings) and humans (ST1, 7 holdings). Nine (7.6%) holdings were positive for two, three or four different and unrelated spa-types in various combinations. ST398 was the most prevalent lineage (33 positive holdings). The most prevalent spa-type was t899 (ST398), detected in 22 positive holdings. Three novel spa-types (t4794 of ST9: t4795 of ST97; t4838 of ST398) were detected. Ten holdings were positive for spa-type 11730, that proved to be a new single-locus variant of ST97, within the CC97 (ST1476). The most prevalent SCCmec was Type V (79 isolates), while Type IVb was found in 10 isolates. None of the isolates was positive for Panton-Valentine Leukocidin, while most of the t127 and t1730 isolates, one t4794, one t4795, and one t2922 were positive for LukE-LukD genes. All 64 antimicrobial susceptibility tested isolates were resistant to tetracyclines, with high resistance rates to trimethoprim (68.8%), erythromycin (60.9%), and ciprofloxacin (35.4%). All t127, ST1 isolates were resistant to tetracycline-ciprofloxacin-erythromycin. This survey provides the first report of MRSA ST1 and ST(CC)97 among pigs and the first report of MRSA ST9 from pigs in Europe. The presence of human-associated CA-MRSA (t127, ST1, SCCmec type V) in 6% holdings surveyed can represent an additional MRSA reservoir for infections in humans.
Original languageEnglish
JournalVeterinary Microbiology
Issue number3-4
Pages (from-to)361-366
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Survey
  • Zoonoses
  • MRSA
  • Genotyping
  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Pigs


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