Prevalence and characterisation of methicillin-resistant staphylococci from bovine bulk tank milk in England and Wales

Elizabeth A. Fisher, Gavin Paterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Objectives To investigate the prevalence and characteristics of methicillin-resistant staphylococci on dairy farms in England and Wales including zoonotic MRSA.
Methods Bulk tank milk was sampled from 363 dairy farms in 2015-2016 and methicillin-resistant staphylococci were isolated by salt broth enrichment and plating on MRSA Brilliance selective agar. Isolates were characterised through antimicrobial susceptibility testing and whole-genome sequencing.
Results Methicillin-resistant staphylococci were isolated from ~5% of dairy farms and belonged to six different species, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus lentus, Staphylococcus saprophyticus, Staphylococcus fleurettii and Staphylococcus sciuri. Whole-genome sequencing revealed a large variety of antimicrobial resistance genes and SCCmec elements were present, including mecA and mecC alleles. Potentially zoonotic methicillin-resistance S. aureus were found at a low prevalence (0.83% of sampled dairy farms). Whole-genome sequencing also provided evidence for the mobility of a primordial mec gene complex, independently of a SCCmec element, which appears to have been acquired by S. saprophyticus from S. fleurettii.
Conclusions These data give new insight into the epidemiology of veterinary methicillin-resistant staphylococci to inform future surveillance and zoonotic risk evaluation. Our data indicate that MRSA has likely decreased in prevalence since earlier survey work in England and Wales during 2011-12 and highlights the diversity of methicillin resistance and other resistance determinants among bovine-associated staphylococci with implications for veterinary and human medicine.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJ Glob Antimicrob Resist
Early online date30 Jan 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jan 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Prevalence and characterisation of methicillin-resistant staphylococci from bovine bulk tank milk in England and Wales'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this