Transmission of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus CC398 from livestock veterinarians to their household members

PLoS One. 2014 Jul 25;9(7):e100823. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100823. eCollection 2014.


There are indications that livestock-associated MRSA CC398 has a reduced human-to-human transmissibility, limiting its impact on public health and justifying modified control measures. This study determined the transmissibility of MRSA CC398 from livestock veterinarians to their household members in the community as compared to MRSA non-CC398 strains. A one-year prospective cohort study was performed to determine the presence of MRSA CC398 in four-monthly nasal and oropharyngeal samples of livestock veterinarians (n = 137) and their household members (n = 389). In addition, a cross-sectional survey was performed to detect the presence of MRSA non-CC398 in hospital derived control patients (n = 20) and their household members (n = 41). Staphylococcus aureus isolates were genotyped by staphylococcal protein A (spa) typing and multiple-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA). Mean MRSA CC398 prevalence over the study period was 44% (range 41.6-46.0%) in veterinarians and 4.0% (range 2.8-4.7%) in their household members. The MRSA CC398 prevalence in household members of veterinarians was significantly lower than the MRSA non-CC398 prevalence in household members of control patients (PRR 6.0; 95% CI 2.4-15.5), indicating the reduced transmissibility of MRSA CC398. The impact of MRSA CC398 appears to be low at the moment. However, careful monitoring of the human-to-human transmissibility of MRSA CC398 remains important.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Family
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Livestock / microbiology
  • Male
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / genetics*
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / pathogenicity
  • Staphylococcal Infections / genetics*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / microbiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / transmission
  • Staphylococcal Protein A / genetics*
  • Tandem Repeat Sequences / genetics
  • Veterinarians*


  • Staphylococcal Protein A

Grant support

This work was supported by The Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) [grant number 125010003]. The funding authority did not interfere with data collection, data analysis, or writing the manuscript, nor did it have the right to approve or disapprove the manuscript.