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Shedding of Clostridium difficile and MRSA by pigs ready for slaughter

J. S. Weese, J. Rousseau, A. Deckert, S. Gow, R. J. Reid-Smith

AGE has been shown to affect the prevalence of Clostridium difficile and meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in pigs. This study evaluated shedding of these organisms in slaughter-age pigs, in view of their potential for contaminating food.

Commercial pig farms were recruited from across Canada, and up to 10 grower-finisher pigs on each farm were studied close to the time of slaughter. Fresh faecal samples were collected for isolation of C difficile, and nasal samples were collected for detection of MRSA. Faecal and nasal samples were not necessarily collected from the same pigs; therefore, C difficile and MRSA were analysed independently. Prevalence was calculated after adjusting for clustering at herd level. Isolates of C difficile were typed by PCR ribotyping, while MRSA isolates were characterised by sequencing of the × region of the protein A gene (spa typing).

C difficile was isolated from 30 of 436 (6.9 per cent) samples from 15 of 45 (33 per cent) farms; prevalence was 3.4 per cent. MRSA was isolated from 21 of 460 (4.6 per cent) samples from five of 46 (11 …

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