In human beings and animals, staphylococci constitute part of the normal microbial population. Staphylococcus aureus could be classified as an opportunistic pathogen because the bacteria are noted in clinically healthy individuals, but when the immune system becomes compromised, they can also cause a wide range of infections. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that cats who are in close contact with their owners are at the greatest risk of being colonised with S. aureus. Two groups of cats were investigated: single, pet (domestic) cats that do not have outdoor access; and a local population of feral cats living in urban areas. The prevalence of S. aureus in domestic cats was 19.17%, while it’s prevalence in the feral cat population was only 8.3%; which was statistically significant. Analysis of antibiotic resistance, at the genotypic as well as phenotypic level, showed that S. aureus isolates from pet cats were more likely to harbour antibiotic resistant determinants. The prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in households was 10.21%, while in feral cats it was only 1.4%. In conclusion, this study has revealed a correlation between close contact with humans and a higher risk of the cats being colonised with S. aureus and harbouring the antibiotic resistant determinants.
|Publication Title||PLoS One|
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