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Nasal Colonization of Humans with Occupational Exposure to Raw Meat and to Raw Meat Products with Methicillin-Susceptible and Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus

Robert Koch Institute, Wernigerode Branch, 38855 Wernigerode, Germany
Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, Charité, 12203 Berlin, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2019, 11(4), 190;
Received: 6 March 2019 / Revised: 25 March 2019 / Accepted: 28 March 2019 / Published: 30 March 2019
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Livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) is widely disseminated as a nasal colonizer of conventionally raised livestock and of humans subjected to occupational exposure. Reports on contamination of raw meat raise the question as to whether occupationally exposed food handlers are at particular risk of nasal colonization by LA-MRSA. Here, we report the results from a cross-sectional study on nasal S. aureus/MRSA colonization of butchers, meat sellers, and cooks in Germany. We sampled 286 butchers and meat sellers in 26 butcheries and 319 cooks handling meat in 16 professional canteen kitchens. Swabs were processed on both blood agar plates and MRSA-selective plates. MRSA were confirmed by PCR for mec genes and by broth microdilution. All isolates were subjected to molecular typing. PCR for markers useful to differentiate human-adapted and animal-adapted subpopulations was performed due to the presence of clonal complexes known to occur in both livestock and humans (CC5, CC7, CC8, CC9, and CC398). Only two participants (0.33%) were colonized by MRSA (Hospital-associated MRSA ST22). Nasal colonization by methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) was detected in 16.6% of cooks and in 26.2% of butchers and meat sellers. Among 16 of the isolates attributed to CC7, three were negative for the immune evasion gene cluster, suggesting an animal origin. Isolates attributed to CC5, CC8, and CC398 were negative for markers typical of animal-adapted subpopulations. The occupational handling of raw meat and raw meat products was not associated with nasal colonization by LA-MRSA. View Full-Text
Keywords: MRSA; meat; occupational exposure MRSA; meat; occupational exposure
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Cuny, C.; Layer, F.; Hansen, S.; Werner, G.; Witte, W. Nasal Colonization of Humans with Occupational Exposure to Raw Meat and to Raw Meat Products with Methicillin-Susceptible and Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Toxins 2019, 11, 190.

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