Methods: A total of 300 swab samples were taken from nasal and oral mucosae of 78 veterinary staff, 45 dogs, 12 cats and from 30 environmental surfaces. Staphylococci were isolated by selective enrichment and characterized by biochemical tests and antimicrobial disc susceptibility testing. MRSA isolates were genotypically confirmed by PCR and typed by PFGE.
Results: MRSA was isolated from 14 staff (17.9%), four dogs (9%), and three environmental sites (10%) yielding a total of 28 MRSA isolates. PFGE analysis revealed that most MRSA isolates were indistinguish- able (56%) or closely related (26%) to EMRSA-15, one of the two epidemic MRSA strains dominant in UK hospitals. Like EMRSA-15, the predominant strain isolated from staff, dogs and environmental sites was resistant to fluoroquinolones in addition to all b-lactams.
Conclusions: The study provides evidence of EMRSA-15 mucosal carriage in veterinary staff and hospitalized dogs, with the risk of MRSA carriage in veterinary staff being significantly higher than reported for the UK healthy community. EMRSA-15 was predominant in the hospital environment, including humans, dogs, and inanimate objects, but the mode by which the strain was introduced and spread remains uncertain.
Prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus among staff and pets in a small animal referral hospital in the UK
Anette Loeffler1*, Amanda K. Boag1, Julia Sung2, Jodi A. Lindsay2, Luca Guardabassi3, Anders Dalsgaard3, Heather Smith1, Kim B. Stevens1 and David H. Lloyd1
1Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, University of London, London, UK; 2Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, St. George’s, University of London, London, UK; 3Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Frederisksberg C, Denmark