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Animal-to-human transmission of MRSA isolates

E. M. Harrison, G. K. Patterson, M. T. G. Holden, J. Larsen, M. Stegger, A. R. Larsen and others

SEVERAL meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) lineages that carry a novel mecA homologue (mecC) have recently been described in livestock and humans. In Denmark, two independent human cases of mecC-MRSA infection were previously, but not exclusively, linked to a livestock reservoir on the patients' farms.

To determine if the patients were infected by the same bacterium and if the infection came from their own livestock, isolates from the patients and farm animals were investigated using whole genome sequencing.

Phylogenetic analysis across the entire core genome revealed that isolates from these cases formed two distinct, farm-specific clusters. The isolates from patient A and cow A differed only by five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), that is, single differences in the nucleotide sequence. For patient B, the two isolates from sheep B1 and B2 were most closely related to the patient's isolate, differing by five and three SNPs, respectively. The results, the authors say, support the suggestion of a transmission event from animal to human. …

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