A longitudinal study of **Staphylococcus aureus** colonization in pigs in Ireland
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Veterinary microbiology. - Amsterdam
, p. 504-513
University of Antwerp
The emergence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in livestock has refocused attention on S. aureus colonization and transmission in pigs. This study investigated the effect of the S. aureus colonization status of a sow on the colonization status of her piglets, and whether pigs carry the same strain of S. aureus throughout production. Nasal swabs were collected from the piglets of six healthy sows two days after birth and two days before and two days after they were moved into each production stage. The average prevalence of S. aureus colonization varied between 26% and 73%. The odds of being S. aureus positive were almost 12 times higher for piglets born to nasal-positive sows than for those born to nasal-negative sows, and three times higher again for piglets born to sows that were both nasal- and vaginal-positive. Isolates recovered from piglets immediately after birth were indistinguishable from those of the dam as determined by phenotypic and molecular typing, including microarray analysis and optical mapping. All isolates belonged to clonal complex 9 and the majority exhibited a novel spa type, t10449. The findings show that the S. aureus colonization status of the sow influences the colonization status of her piglets in the early production stages but strains carried by pigs change over time. Multiresistant S. aureus was detected, in particular post-weaning. Results suggest that sow status and management practices, including mixing of pigs and antimicrobial usage at weaning, should be considered when implementing control measures for S. aureus on a farm.