MRSA in livestock animals—an epidemic waiting to happen?

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Screening of pig farmers and pigs in The Netherlands has revealed that >20% of pig farmers and 39% of slaughterhouse pigs are positive for an unusual strain of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) belonging to sequence type (ST) 398. It is now clear that the emergence of ST398 is not just a Dutch problem, with human infections being described in several European countries, Canada and Singapore. Furthermore, some human isolates have now acquired the genes encoding Panton–Valentine leukocidin. Livestock may become an important source of community-acquired MRSA. A concerted effort on the part of clinicians, infection control practitioners and veterinarians will be required to prevent further spread of this novel strain of MRSA.

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