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Livestock veterinarians at high risk of acquiring methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ST398

  • C. GARCIA-GRAELLS (a1), J. ANTOINE (a2), J. LARSEN (a3), B. CATRY (a2), R. SKOV (a3) and O. DENIS (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 15 November 2011

The prevalence and risk factors associated with livestock-associated MRSA (LA-MRSA) carriage was examined in Danish and Belgian veterinarians. The MRSA and LA-MRSA carriage rates were 9·5% (95% CI 5·3–15·6) and 7·5% (95% CI 3·8–13·1) for MRSA and LA-MRSA, respectively, in Belgium and 1·4% (95% CI: 0·17–5·05) in Denmark (all Danish MRSA isolates belonged to the LA-MRSA genotype). All LA-MRSA isolates were resistant to tetracycline and 53·4% (7/13) showed a multi-resistant phenotype. LA-MRSA was significantly associated with veterinarians in contact with livestock (P=0·046). In the multivariable analysis, working with small animals in a veterinary clinic seems to be negatively associated (OR 0·15, 95% CI 0–1·0, P=0·05) and a strong direct association was found for LA-MRSA acquisition and exposure to live pigs (OR 12·1, 95% CI 1·6–548·5, P=0·01). Since carriage of MRSA ST398 may increase the risk of complications during hospitalization, our results underline that preventive measures may need to be developed for veterinary professionals, particularly for livestock veterinarians.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr C. Garcia-Graells, Laboratoire de Référence MRSA – Staphylocoques, Department of Microbiology, Université Libre Bruxelles-Hôpital Erasme, Route de Lennik 808, 1070 Brussels, Belgium. (Email:
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