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Community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in horses and humans who work with horses

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  • 1 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.
  • | 2 Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1678.
  • | 4 Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai Hospital, 600 University Ave, Toronto, ON M5G 1X5, Canada.
  • | 5 Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai Hospital, 600 University Ave, Toronto, ON M5G 1X5, Canada.
  • | 6 Department of Microbiology, Mount Sinai Hospital, 600 University Ave, Toronto, ON M5G 1X5, Canada.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the prevalence of nasal colonization with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in horses and horse personnel.

Design—Prospective prevalence study.

Sample Population—972 horses and 107 personnel from equine farms in Ontario, Canada and New York state.

Procedure—Nasal swab specimens were collected from horses and humans on farms with (targeted surveillance) and without (nontargeted surveillance) a history of MRSA colonization or infection in horses during the preceding year. Selective culture for MRSA was performed. Isolates were typed via pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and antibiograms were determined.

Results—MRSA was isolated from 46 of 972 (4.7%) horses (0/581 via nontargeted surveillance and 46/391 [12%] via targeted surveillance). Similarly, MRSA was isolated from 14 of 107 (13%) humans (2/41 [5%] from nontargeted surveillance and 12/66 [18%] from targeted surveillance). All isolates were subtypes of Canadian epidemic MRSA-5, an uncommon strain in humans. All isolates were resistant to at least 1 antimicrobial class in addition to β-lactams. On all farms with colonized horses, at least 1 human was colonized with an indistinguishable subtype. For horses, residing on a farm that housed > 20 horses was the only factor significantly associated with MRSA colonization. For humans, regular contact with > 20 horses was the only identified risk factor.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results confirm a reservoir of colonized horses on a variety of farms in Ontario and New York and provide evidence that 1 MRSA strain is predominantly involved in MRSA colonization in horses and humans that work with horses. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:580–583)

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the prevalence of nasal colonization with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in horses and horse personnel.

Design—Prospective prevalence study.

Sample Population—972 horses and 107 personnel from equine farms in Ontario, Canada and New York state.

Procedure—Nasal swab specimens were collected from horses and humans on farms with (targeted surveillance) and without (nontargeted surveillance) a history of MRSA colonization or infection in horses during the preceding year. Selective culture for MRSA was performed. Isolates were typed via pulsed-field gel electrophoresis, and antibiograms were determined.

Results—MRSA was isolated from 46 of 972 (4.7%) horses (0/581 via nontargeted surveillance and 46/391 [12%] via targeted surveillance). Similarly, MRSA was isolated from 14 of 107 (13%) humans (2/41 [5%] from nontargeted surveillance and 12/66 [18%] from targeted surveillance). All isolates were subtypes of Canadian epidemic MRSA-5, an uncommon strain in humans. All isolates were resistant to at least 1 antimicrobial class in addition to β-lactams. On all farms with colonized horses, at least 1 human was colonized with an indistinguishable subtype. For horses, residing on a farm that housed > 20 horses was the only factor significantly associated with MRSA colonization. For humans, regular contact with > 20 horses was the only identified risk factor.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results confirm a reservoir of colonized horses on a variety of farms in Ontario and New York and provide evidence that 1 MRSA strain is predominantly involved in MRSA colonization in horses and humans that work with horses. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:580–583)