Research Communication

Prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus among large commercial pig herds in South Africa

Shani van Lochem, Peter N. Thompson, Cornelius H. Annandale
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 85, No 1 | a1561 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v85i1.1561 | © 2018 Shani van Lochem, Peter N. Thompson, Cornelius H. Annandale | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 06 October 2017 | Published: 17 July 2018

About the author(s)

Shani van Lochem, Department Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Peter N. Thompson, Department Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Cornelius H. Annandale, Department Production Animal Studies, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

The prevalence of nasal carrier status of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in pigs has been described elsewhere, but is unknown in South Africa. To address concerns that exist regarding the zoonotic risk that carriers pose to workers, the herd-level prevalence of MRSA was determined among 25 large (> 500 sows) commercial pig herds in South Africa, representing 45% of the large commercial herds in the country. From each herd, the nasal contents of 18 finisher pigs were sampled at the abattoir, pooled into three and selectively cultured to determine the presence of MRSA. A herd was classified as MRSA-positive if one or more of the three pooled samples cultured positive. Three of the 25 herds tested positive for MRSA, equating to a 12% herd prevalence (95% CI: 7% – 23%) among South African commercial piggeries. The prevalence of nasal MRSA carriers among large commercial pig herds in South Africa was low compared to what has been reported elsewhere and suggests a relatively low zoonotic MRSA risk to workers in South African commercial piggeries and abattoirs.

Keywords

MRSA; pigs; staphylococcus aureus; zoonosis; prevalence

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doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.03098