MRSA in persons not living or working on a farm in a livestock-dense area: prevalence and risk factors

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Objectives: MRSA emerged in livestock and persons in contact with livestock is referred to as livestock-associated MRSA (LA-MRSA). We assessed the prevalence and risk factors for MRSA carriage in persons not living or working on a farm.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed among 2492 adults living in close proximity of livestock farms. Persons working and/or living on farms were excluded. Nasal swabs were cultured using selective media. Participants completed questionnaires and the distance from the residential address to the nearest farm was calculated. The Mann–Whitney U-test was used to compare median distances. Risk factors were explored with logistic regression.

Results: Fourteen persons carried MRSA (0.56%; 95% CI 0.32%–0.92%), 10 of which carried LA-MRSA of multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis complex (MC) 398 (0.40%; 95% CI 0.20%–0.71%). MRSA MC 398 carriers lived significantly closer to the nearest farm than non-carriers (median: 184 versus 402 m; P < 0.01). In bivariate analyses correcting for contact with livestock, this difference remained significant.

Conclusions: Although the prevalence was low, living near farms increased the risk of MRSA MC 398 carriage for persons not living or working on a farm. Further research is necessary to identify the transmission routes.

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