High prevalence of clonally diversespatype t026Staphylococcus aureuscontaminating rural eggshells

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Purpose.The presence of Staphylococcus aureus in poultry and poultry products, including eggs, increases its potential to enter the food chain, resulting in foodborne diseases. In this context, eggshell colonization by staphylococci may represent a risk factor. This study aimed to investigate the contamination of rural eggshell by S. aureus and to characterize the key features of the isolated strains.Methodology.Antibiotic resistance was assessed by disc diffusion. Resistant isolates were analysed by PCR for the identification of associated genetic determinants of resistance. PCR was also used to screen for the presence of genes coding for toxins, namely, sea, sec, sei, sem, seo and tst. The genetic characterization was extended by means of agr locus typing and spa typing.Results.34 S. aureus were isolated. Macrolide- and tetracycline-resistant strains were prevalent. All strains were susceptible to oxacillin, cefoxitin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. PCR screening for genes encoding enterotoxins detected several virulence patterns, which, together with spa-typing and agr-locus typing, allowed cluster analysis and the description of novel clones.Conclusion.Continuous monitoring of staphylococci is needed also in rural or natural settings. Increasing the number of samples and expanding the geographical region will be needed to further extend the significance of the study.

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