Link: Entrez PubMed.
There are increasing reports of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection and colonization in horses and evidence that MRSA can be transmitted between horses and humans. The objective of this study was to investigate reports of skin infection in personnel working with a foal with community-associated MRSA colonization and subsequent infection. Clinical diagnostic specimens were collected from individuals reporting skin lesions following contact with the affected foal. Nasal and groin screening swabs were collected from other veterinary personnel that attended a voluntary screening clinic. MRSA skin infections were identified in three neonatal intensive care unit personnel. Nasal colonization was subsequently identified in 10/103 (9.7%) other veterinary hospital personnel. Isolates were indistinguishable by pulsed field gel electrophoresis, classified as Canadian epidemic MRSA-5, possessed SCCmecIV, were negative for the Panton-Valentine leukocidin and were multidrug resistant. Transmission to veterinary personnel despite short-term contact with standard protective barriers highlights the potential importance of MRSA as an emerging zoonotic pathogen, and indicates that further evaluation of interspecies transmission of MRSA and means to prevent zoonotic infection are required.