To evaluate the prevalence of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in the pig population in Ireland, nasal swabbing was employed in three abattoirs to screen 440 pigs from 41 geographically distributed farms. One hundred individuals involved in the pig industry were also nasally screened. No MRSA isolates were recovered from the pigs and only two of the humans tested were identified as MRSA carriers. Importantly, MRSA was not obtained from pig producers, veterinarians or abattoir employees, but was isolated from individuals working in the wider pig industry. Multi-locus sequence typing revealed that these isolates belonged to sequence types (ST) ST22 and ST1307; the latter is a previously unreported single locus variant of ST5. Five dust samples from each of the three slaughterhouses were culture-negative for MRSA. These results indicate that porcine colonisation by MRSA, and in particular the animal-related strain MRSA-ST398, was not common in Ireland during the period of study.
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