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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in a population of horses in Australia

Axon, J.E., Carrick, J.B., Barton, M.D., Collins, N.M., Russell, C.M., Kiehne, J. and Coombs, G. (2011) Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in a population of horses in Australia. Australian Veterinary Journal, 89 (6). pp. 221-225.

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Objective To evaluate if methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is present in the horse population in Australia. Design A two-part retrospective study of laboratory submissions of microbial culture results from horses. Methods Part A: medical records of 216 horses that had MRSA screening performed on nasal swabs collected over a 30-day period at admission to the Scone Equine Hospital Clovelly Intensive Care Unit were retrieved. Part B: laboratory records from 2004 to 2009 of culture submissions to the Scone Veterinary Laboratory were reviewed and cultures that grew MRSA were identified. The MRSA isolates from Parts A and B were genotyped over an 18-month period. Results MRSA screening of 216 horses identified eight (3.7%) positive samples. MRSA was isolated from cultures of 80 (0.002%) clinical bacteriology samples over a 6-year period. Genotypic analysis was performed on 36 isolates. All MRSA characterised had the same pulse field gel electrophoresis pattern (type 1), with eight closely related subtypes identified (subtypes A-F and H) and 66% of isolates classified as subtype D, which multilocus sequence and staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec typing analysis identified as ST612-MRSA-IVa, a clonal complex (CC) 8 S. aureus strain. Antimicrobial resistance to more than two classes of antimicrobials was common. Conclusions MRSA was present in a population of horses in Australia. Genotypic analysis of the isolates identified the MRSA strain as CC8 S. aureus. Further research needs to be undertaken to evaluate MRSA infection and colonisation of horses and personnel in Australia.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Copyright: © 2011 The Authors.
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