Louise Feld

Transmission of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus to Human Volunteers Visiting a Swine Farm

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Documents

DOI

  • Øystein Angen, Department of Bacteria, Parasites and Fungi, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark ysan@ssi.dk.
  • ,
  • Louise Feld
  • Jesper Larsen, Department of Bacteria, Parasites and Fungi, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • ,
  • Klaus Rostgaard, Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen S, Denmark.
  • ,
  • Robert Skov, Department of Bacteria, Parasites and Fungi, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • ,
  • Anne Mette Madsen, The National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen Denmark.
  • ,
  • Anders Rhod Larsen, Department of Bacteria, Parasites and Fungi, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) from animals to humans is of great concern due to the implications for human health and the health care system. The objective was to investigate the frequency and duration of MRSA carriage in human volunteers after a short-term exposure in a swine farm. The experimental study included 34 human volunteers staying 1 h in a MRSA-positive swine farm in four trials. In two of the trials, the influence of farm work involving pig contact was studied using a crossover design. The quantities of MRSA in nasal swabs, throat swabs, and air samples were measured at different time points and analyzed in relation to relevant covariates. This investigation showed that, overall, 94% of the volunteers acquired MRSA during the farm visit. Two hours after the volunteers left the stable, the nasal MRSA count had declined to unquantifiable levels in 95% of the samples. After 48 h, 94% of the volunteers were MRSA-negative. Nasal MRSA carriage was positively correlated to personal exposure to airborne MRSA and farm work involving pig contact and negatively correlated to smoking. No association was observed between MRSA carriage and face touching behavior, nasal methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) carriage, age, or gender. The increase in human MRSA carriage among the volunteers with pig contact seems to be dependent on the increased concentration of airborne MRSA of the surrounding air and not directly on physical contact with pigs. MRSA was not detected in any of the throat samples.IMPORTANCE The experimental approach made it possible to elucidate the contributions of airborne MRSA levels and farm work to nasal MRSA carriage in a swine farm. Short-term exposure to airborne MRSA poses a substantial risk for farm visitors to become nasal carriers, but the carriage is typically cleared within hours to a few days. The risk for short-term visitors to cause secondary transmissions of MRSA is most likely negligible due to the observed decline to unquantifiable levels in 95% of the nasal samples after only 2 h. The MRSA load in the nose was highly correlated to the amount of MRSA in the air and interventions to reduce the level of airborne MRSA or the use of face masks might consequently reduce nasal contamination.

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Volume83
Issue23
ISSN0099-2240
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

Download statistics

No data available

ID: 118797695