211007 Swine workers: An emerging risk group for community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Abby L. Harper , University of Iowa Colleg eof Public Heatlh, Coralville, IA
Over the past decade, the epidemiology of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has undergone significant changes. Once primarily a hospital-based pathogen, MRSA is now found increasingly in the community, and this bacterium has caused serious infections in individuals with no history of hospitalization. Recent research has also shown that swine and swine farmers are colonized with MRSA at high levels in the Netherlands and Canada. With Iowa raising 16 million hogs a year in a $4 billion a year industry, we set out to examine the prevalence of MRSA in swine from Iowa and Illinois. Therefore, we collected samples from swine on 10 different farms (7 confinement, 3 organic/antibiotic free) in Iowa and Illinois. To date, no MRSA has been found on organic farms in Iowa. Nasal swabs were taken from 474 swine. Overall MRSA prevalence in swine was found to be 32% (151/474). MRSA prevalence in confinement swine was 40% (151/382). These results show that colonization of swine by MRSA is very common on the farm system we examined in the Midwestern U.S., adding to the concern about domestic animal species as a reservoir of this bacterium. In addition to swine, nasal and pharyngeal swabs were taken from humans. Overall MRSA prevalence in humans was 42% (20/48). Humans working in confinement operations had a prevalence of 63% (20/32). Individuals exposed to swine, especially in confinement operations, are risk for MRSA carriage. Additional studies are ongoing to examine the carriage rates of MRSA in rural Iowa.

Learning Objectives:
The goal of this research was to identify the prevalence of MRSA carriage in specific swine herds within Iowa and Illinois. We wanted to analyze the prevalence of MRSA carriage in swine farm workers on these same farms. Evaluation of which MRSA strains are found in these populations as characterized by genotypic sub typing methods (MLST, PFGE, and SCCmec) was another objective of the research.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Delta Omega student nominee
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.