Dynamic of Livestock-Associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus CC398 in Pig Farm Households: A Pilot Study

Research in Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark reveals that the risk for household members to acquire methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is limited, even when they live on farms with very high carriage rates of these antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
calendar icon 1 February 2014
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The aim of this study by Cristina Garcia-Graells of the Erasme Hospital at the Free University of Brussels in Belgium and co-authors from institutes in the Netherlands and Denmark - was to determine the long-term carriage rates and transmission dynamics of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in pig farmers and their household members.

In PLoS ONE, the researchers explain that, during a six-month period in 2009 and 2010, four pig farms in Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands, respectively, were studied for the presence of MRSA.

The proportion of persistent carriers was significantly higher among farmers than among household members (87 per cent versus 11 per cent) and significantly higher in household members from Belgium than Denmark or the Netherlands (29 per cent versus 0 per cent versus six per cent).

Determinant analysis of MRSA carriage revealed that pig contact was the most important determinant for MRSA carriage among household members and that the increased MRSA carriage rate observed among household members from Belgium is linked to country-specific differences in pig exposure.

These findings demonstrated that even in pig farms with very high carriage rates of MRSA both in livestock and farmers, the risk for household members to acquire MRSA is limited and still depends strongly on pig exposure, concluded Garcia-Graells and c-authors.

They added that, by restricting access to the stables and exposure to pigs, MRSA acquisition by household members could be greatly reduced.


Garcia-Graells C., B.A.G.L. van Cleef, J. Larsen, O. Denis, R. Skov and A. Voss. 2013. Dynamic of livestock-associated Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus CC398 in pig farm households: a pilot study. PLoS ONE 8(5): e65512. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065512

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February 2014

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