Characterization of pig-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) have been reported in various countries worldwide. However, although China is one of the biggest pig and pork producers, large-scale studies on pig-associated LA-MRSA from China are scarce. The aims of this study were to analyze 2,420 non-duplicate samples collected from pigs at swine farms and slaughterhouses in different regions in China during 2014 for the prevalence of pig-associated MRSA and to determine the antimicrobial resistance pheno- and genotypes of the respective isolates. MRSA isolates were identified in 270 (11.2%) samples. The isolates were characterized by antimicrobial susceptibility testing, multilocus sequence typing (MLST), spa typing, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and screening for resistance genes. All MRSA isolates belonged to the clonal complex 9 and spa type t899, but showed variable PFGE patterns. All isolates were non-susceptible to oxacillin, cefoxitin, clindamycin, chloramphenicol, florfenicol, ciprofloxacin, and valnemulin. High rates of resistance were also observed for tetracycline (99.6%), erythromycin (97.0%), quinupristin-dalfopristin (97.0%), and gentamicin (80.4%). Three linezolid-non-susceptible isolates containing the multi-resistance gene cfr and nine rifampicin-non-susceptible isolates with mutations in rpoB were detected. Resistance to β-lactams was exclusively associated with mecA, while phenicol resistance was mainly attributable to fexA, except in the three cfr-positive isolates. The pleuromutilin-lincosamide-streptogramin A resistance gene lsa(E) was identified in all MRSA isolates, and no other pleuromutilin resistance genes, except cfr in three isolates, genes were detected. Pigs are the most important hosts of LA-MRSA in China. Screening for pig-associated MRSA is necessary to monitor changes in epidemiology and characteristics of these important pathogens.