Objectives: To identify the staphylococcal cassette chromosome mec (SCCmec) types of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) isolated from bovine milk, and examine the genetic relatedness between MRSA from bovine milk and MRSA from human isolates.
Methods: Antimicrobial susceptibility tests were performed on MRSA isolated from bovine milk. PCR and sequencing analysis were performed to determine the SCCmec type of MRSA, and to confirm their toxin carriage. Genetic relatedness among the bovine isolates and between bovine and human isolates was detected with PFGE and multilocus sequence typing (MLST).
Results: Fourteen MRSA and a silent mecA-carrying methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (smMSSA) were isolated from the milk of cows with an isolation ratio of 0.18%. SCCmec of 14 MRSA strains were designated as new subtype IVg, and one smMSSA strain was not classified. All 14 MRSA strains shared Panton-Valentine leucocidin (PVL) and staphylococcal enterotoxin D (SED), SEI and SEJ; the smMSSA strain had only PVL. All MRSA and smMSSA isolates showed no multidrug resistance and had community-acquired MRSA (CA-MRSA) characteristics. PFGE revealed that all isolates except the smMSSA belonged to the same genetic lineage, and MLST analysis showed that they had no genetic relatedness with CA-MRSA which had caused human infection in Korea.
Conclusions: MRSA isolated from bovine milk harboured a unique SCCmec subtype, and they may not be correlated with the emergence of CA-MRSA in human infection in Korea.