Presence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in slaughterhouse environment, pigs, carcasses, and workers

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Introduction: Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a highly resistant and difficult to cure zoonotic microorganism, which makes up a large part of food toxic infections and has shown high prevalence among pig population all over the world. The aim of the study was to establish the occurrence of MRSA in slaughterhouses, evaluate its antimicrobial resistance, and verify whether there are any differences or similarities with reference to other European countries. Material and Methods: A total of 100 pigs, 105 carcasses, 19 workers, and 24 samples from the environment of several slaughterhouses were examined by conventional microbial and molecular methods. Results: In total, 78 MRSA isolates were found. MRSA prevalence in slaughtered pigs varied from 8.0% to 88.6% depending on the slaughterhouse, reaching higher prevalence in slaughterhouses with higher slaughter capacity. In total, 21.1% of all workers were carriers of MRSA and 6.7% of carcasses were contaminated with MRSA. The 98.2% of MRSA isolates were resistant to penicillin, 89.1% to tetracycline, 60.1% to erythromycin, 65.5% to gentamycin, and 15 different spa types were found, among which spa type t01333 was most widespread. Conclusion: The study indicated that MRSA prevalence and spa types differed according to slaughterhouse slaughter capacity and good hygiene practices. Quite high MRSA occurrence among slaughterhouse workers is one of the main factors which increase pork contamination risk.

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