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Prevalence of livestock-associated MRSA on Dutch broiler farms and in people living and/or working on these farms


This study aimed to determine the prevalence and risk factors for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on 50 Dutch broiler farms. Of 145 persons living and/or working on these farms, eight tested positive for MRSA (5·5%). Investigation of 250 pooled throat samples of broilers and 755 dust samples resulted in four farms where MRSA-positive samples were present (8·0%). All isolates belonged to the CC398 complex. Living and/or working on a MRSA-positive farm was a risk for MRSA carriage; 66·7% of people on positive farms were MRSA positive vs. 1·5% on negative farms (P<0·0001). Due to the low number of positive farms and persons, and high similarity in farm management, it was impossible to draw statistically valid conclusions on other risk factors. For broiler farming, both farm and human MRSA prevalence seem much lower than for pig or veal farming. However, MRSA carriage in people living and/or working on broiler farms is higher compared to the general human population in The Netherlands (5·5% vs. <0·1%). As broiler husbandry systems are not unique to The Netherlands, this might imply that people in contact with live broilers are at risk for MRSA carriage worldwide.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr E. A. M. Graat, Quantitative Veterinary Epidemiology Group, Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 338, 6700 AH, Wageningen, The Netherlands. (Email:
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