A methicillin-resistantStaphylococcus aureus(MRSA) Sequence Type 8,spatype t11469 causing infection and colonizing horses in Italy

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A Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was isolated in Italy from a pathological sample of a mare presenting chronic purulent sinusitis and that had undergone frontal-sinus surgery three months before. Humans, horses, dogs and environmental samples were subsequently collected at the mare's stable and at the Veterinary Hospital, where the mare was operated/hospitalized, and screened for the presence of MRSA that was detected from other horses and from the environment at both sites. All the MRSA isolates belonged to clonal complex (CC)8, ST8-t11469-SCCmec-IVa, and showed similar phenotypic and genetic multidrug resistance patterns and macrorestriction-pulsed-field gel electrophoresis profiles. The only MRSA detected from humans was a CC1, ST1-t127-SCCmec-IVa. This paper represents the first report of a clinical MRSA infection in a horse in Italy. This study also supports the opinion that improper use of antibiotics and hospitalization/surgery can represent risk factors for MRSA colonization/infection in horses, and that the environment is among important sources for exposure.

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