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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Infectious Diseases - Microbiology - Public Health and Epidemiology - Science Policy

Transmission of MRSA between Companion Animals and Infected Human Patients Presenting to Outpatient Medical Care Facilities
Published: Thursday, November 10, 2011
Author: Jorge Pinto Ferreira et al.

by Jorge Pinto Ferreira, Kevin L. Anderson, Maria T. Correa, Roberta Lyman, Felicia Ruffin, L. Barth Reller, Vance G. Fowler

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a significant pathogen in both human and veterinary medicine. The importance of companion animals as reservoirs of human infections is currently unknown. The companion animals of 49 MRSA-infected outpatients (cases) were screened for MRSA carriage, and their bacterial isolates were compared with those of the infected patients using Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE). Rates of MRSA among the companion animals of MRSA-infected patients were compared to rates of MRSA among companion animals of pet guardians attending a “veterinary wellness clinic” (controls). MRSA was isolated from at least one companion animal in 4/49 (8.2%) households of MRSA-infected outpatients vs. none of the pets of the 50 uninfected human controls. Using PFGE, patient-pets MRSA isolates were identical for three pairs and discordant for one pair (suggested MRSA inter-specie transmission p-value?=?0.1175). These results suggest that companion animals of MRSA-infected patients can be culture-positive for MRSA, representing a potential source of infection or re-infection for humans. Further studies are required to better understand the epidemiology of MRSA human-animal inter-specie transmission.
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