Abstract / Description of output
We sought to determine the prevalence of nasal colonisation with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus among cattle veterinarians in the UK. There was particular interest in examining the frequency of colonisation with MRSA harbouring mecC, as strains with this mecA homologue were originally identified in bovine milk and may represent a zoonotic risk to those in contact with dairy livestock. Three hundred and seven delegates at the British Cattle Veterinarian Association (BCVA) Congress 2011 in Southport, UK were screening for nasal colonisation with MRSA. Isolates were characterised by whole genome sequencing and antimicrobial susceptibility testing. Eight out of three hundred and seven delegates (2.6%) were positive for nasal colonisation with MRSA. All strains were positive for mecA and none possessed mecC. The time since a delegate’s last visit to a farm was significantly shorter in the MRSA-positive group than in MRSA-negative counterparts. BCVA delegates have an increased risk of MRSA colonisation compared to the general population but their frequency of colonisation is lower than that reported from other types of veterinarian conference, and from that seen in human healthcare workers. The results indicate that recent visitation to a farm is a risk factor for MRSA colonisation and that mecC-MRSA are rare among BCVA delegates (<1% based on sample size). Contact with livestock, including dairy cattle, may still be a risk factor for human colonisation with mecC-MRSA but occurs at a rate below the lower limit of detection available in this study.