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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in people living and working in pig farms

  • I. V. F. VAN DEN BROEK (a1), B. A. G. L. VAN CLEEF (a1), A. HAENEN (a1), E. M. BROENS (a2) (a3), P. J. VAN DER WOLF (a4), M. J. M. VAN DEN BROEK (a5), X. W. HUIJSDENS (a6), J. A. J. W. KLUYTMANS (a7), A. W. VAN DE GIESSEN (a8) and E. W. TIEMERSMA (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 24 October 2008

We compared the prevalence of human and animal methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) at pig farms in The Netherlands, and related this to individual and farm-level characteristics. More than half of the farms investigated (28/50) had MRSA in pigs or stable dust and about one third (15/50) of person(s) were identified as MRSA carriers. Human carriage was found only on farms with MRSA-positive pigs or dust. MRSA strains in human samples were the same spa-type as found in pigs and all were not typable by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (NT-MRSA). Multivariate analyses showed that risk factors for human MRSA carriage were: working in pig stables (OR 40, 95% CI 8–209) and the presence of sows and finishing pigs (OR 9, 95% CI 3–30). Veterinary sample collectors sampling the pigs showed transient MRSA carriage only during the day of the farm visit. Working in pig stables with MRSA-positive pigs poses a high risk for acquiring MRSA, increasingly so when contact with live pigs is more intensive or long lasting.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr I. V. F. van den Broek, RIVM-EPI, Mailbox 1/pb 75, 3720 BA, Bilthoven, The Netherlands. (Email:
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