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THE emergence of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and meticillin-resitant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (MRSP) in pet animals is a public health concern due to the high zoonotic potential of these multidrug-resistant bacteria (Perreten and others 2010, Ruscher and others 2010, Weese and van Duijkeren 2010). Major human epidemic clones of MRSA, mainly sequence type (ST) 22 (EMRSA-15), have been isolated from dogs and cats in various countries (Weese and van Duijkeren 2010). Although rare, human infections with MRSP of canine origin have recently been reported (Van Hoovels and others 2006, Chuang and others 2010) and high carriage rates have been shown among small animal practitioners in the USA (Morris and others 2010).
As data on MRSA and MRSP carriage rates in dogs and cats are scarce, particularly in Europe, this study investigated the prevalence of MRSA and MRSP carriers among animals presenting at the teaching hospital of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal, thus representing a sample from a tertiary referral centre population.
From April 2008 to May 2010, nasal swabs were obtained from 141 cats and 146 dogs within two hours after admission to the hospital. The swabs were enriched in 3 ml broth containing 10 g/l mannitol, 65 g/l sodium chloride, 2.5 g/l yeast extract and 10 g/l tryptone. After overnight incubation, 10 μl bacterial suspension was plated on to a selective medium (ChromID MRSA; bioMérieux) and suspected MRSA/MRSP colonies were confirmed by PCR detection of mecA (Technical University of Denmark [DTU] 2008). Meticillin-resistant staphylococci were isolated …