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Molecular Epidemiology of Methicillin-Resistant and Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus in the Ovine Dairy Chain and in Farm-Related Humans

National Reference Laboratory for Coagulase-Positive Staphylococci including Staphylococcus aureus, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Piemonte, Liguria e Valle d’Aosta, Via Bologna 148, 10154 Torino, Italy
Centro di Referenza Nazionale Della Qualità Del Latte E Dei Derivati Ovini E Caprini, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Regioni Lazio e Toscana , Via Appia Nuova, 1411, 00178 Roma, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Yinduo Ji
Toxins 2017, 9(5), 161;
Received: 17 March 2017 / Revised: 5 May 2017 / Accepted: 9 May 2017 / Published: 16 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Collection Staphylococcus aureus Toxins)
PDF [443 KB, uploaded 16 May 2017]


Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of clinical infections in humans and its enterotoxins cause foodborne disease. In the present study, we tested a total of 51 isolates of S. aureus from small-ruminant dairy farms with artisan dairy facilities, all located in Latium, Italy. The farms have a known history of a high prevalence of methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). Most of the MRSA isolates (27 of 51) belonged to spa-type t127 (43.1%), followed by t2678 (3.9%), t044 (2%), t1166 (2%), and t1773 (2%). PFGE performed on mecA positive strains identified one cluster (≥ 80% of similarity), comprising 22 MRSA. Nine of twenty-two MRSA isolates were assigned human host origin, and 13 isolates did not belong to a specific host. During the characterization study, one strain isolated from bulk tank milk samples harbored the pvl gene; the strain was not enterotoxigenic with a non-specific host according to the biotyping scheme, highlighting the possible emerging risk of transmission of bacterial virulence factors by foods, the environment, and foodhandlers. These findings stress the importance of hygienic measures at all processing steps of the food production chain and underline that monitoring for the presence of MRSA throughout the food chain is essential for public health. View Full-Text
Keywords: Staphylococcus aureus; PFGE; Panton-Valentine leukocidin; MRSA; typing Staphylococcus aureus; PFGE; Panton-Valentine leukocidin; MRSA; typing

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Macori, G.; Giacinti, G.; Bellio, A.; Gallina, S.; Bianchi, D.M.; Sagrafoli, D.; Marri, N.; Giangolini, G.; Amatiste, S.; Decastelli, L. Molecular Epidemiology of Methicillin-Resistant and Methicillin-Susceptible Staphylococcus aureus in the Ovine Dairy Chain and in Farm-Related Humans. Toxins 2017, 9, 161.

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