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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in resident animals of a long-term care facility

By K. Coughlan, K. E. Olsen, D. Boxrud, J. B. Bender

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Animals provide benefits to elderly and chronically ill people by decreasing loneliness, increasing social interactions, and improving mental health. As a result, many hospitals and long-term care facilities allow family pets to visit ill or convalescing patients or support animal-assisted therapy programs. These include programs that have resident animals in long-term care facilities. Despite the benefits, there are concerns about disease transmission between pets and patients. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), are a recognized problem in healthcare settings leading to refractory infections and potentially life-threatening illnesses. MRSA has been isolated from numerous animal species, yet few studies are available on the carriage of this pathogen in animals residing in long-term care facilities. Our objective was to characterize MRSA carriage among resident animals in a long-term care facility. Methods:To document MRSA colonization, nasal swabs from 12 resident animals (one dogs and 11 cats) of a long-term care facility were collected weekly for 8 weeks. Staphylococcus isolates were characterized by antimicrobial susceptibility and MRSA isolates were further characterized by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). PFGE isolate patterns were compared with an existing database of MRSA isolate patterns at the Minnesota Department of Health. Results: Two of 11 cats were colonized with MRSA. MRSA was recovered from five of eight weekly samples in one cat and two of eight weekly samples in the other cat. All isolates were classified as USA100 (healthcare-associated strains). Discussion: Long-term care resident animals may acquire MRSA. Clonally related strains were identified over the 8-week sampling period. It is unclear if pets serve as an on-going source of infection to their human companions in long-term care facilities.

Date 2010
Publication Title Zoonoses and Public Health
Volume 57
Issue 3
Pages 220-226
ISBN/ISSN 1863-1959
DOI 10.1111/j.1863-2378.2009.01302.x
Language English
Author Address Veterinary Public Health, University of Minnesota, 1354 Eckles Avenue, St Paul, MN 55108, USA. bende002@umn.edu
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  1. Age
  2. Animal diseases
  3. Animal ecology
  4. Antibiotics
  5. Antiinfective agents
  6. Antimicrobials
  7. APEC countries
  8. Bacteria
  9. Carnivores
  10. Cats
  11. Control
  12. data
  13. Department of Health
  14. Developed countries
  15. Diseases
  16. Dogs
  17. Drugs
  18. Health
  19. History
  20. Hospitals
  21. Infections
  22. Information
  23. Interactions
  24. Mammals
  25. Mental disorders
  26. Mental illness
  27. Minnesota
  28. North America
  29. nose
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  31. Older adults
  32. pathogens
  33. peer-reviewed
  34. Pesticides and Drugs
  35. Pets and companion animals
  36. Pharmacology & Pharmacy
  37. Primates
  38. prokaryotes
  39. Research
  40. Resistance and Immunity
  41. strains
  42. Studies
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  44. therapeutics
  45. therapy
  46. transmission
  47. United States of America
  48. Wild animals
  49. Zoonoses
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