Fairs and petting zoos have been associated with outbreaks of zoonotic disease. Previously, the presence of meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) was documented in commercial pigs; therefore, it was hypothesised that antibiotic-resistant S aureus may also occur in pigs exhibited at agricultural fairs. To test this hypothesis, 157 pigs were swabbed at two state fairs in 2008 to 2009. Both nares were sampled and cultures were grown in enrichment broth, then plated onto selective MRSA plates and blood plates. S aureus was confirmed using phenotypic and molecular methods, and was analysed using spa typing, gene-specific polymerase chain reaction and antibiotic susceptibility testing. The presence of S aureus was confirmed in samples collected from pigs exhibited at USA pig shows. Twenty-five of 157 (15.9 per cent) samples were positive for S aureus. Two isolates (8 per cent) were resistant to meticillin; 23/25 (92 per cent), 14/25 (56 per cent) and 15/25 (60 per cent) were resistant to tetracycline, erythromycin and clindamycin, respectively. spa typing revealed multiple isolates of spa type t034 (9/25, 36 per cent) and t337 (7/25, 28 per cent) and singletons of t002, t209, t526, t1236, t1334, t1683, t3075, t5784 and t5883. These results verify the presence of antibiotic-resistant S aureus in pigs exhibited at USA fairs, suggesting that pigs are a potential reservoir for S aureus within this environment.
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