In addition to being a human pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus causes an array of infections in economically important livestock animals, particularly pigs. In Asia, there have been few reports on livestock-associated meticillin-resistant S. aureus (LA-MRSA), mostly from developed countries, with very few data available from resource-limited countries, not because of low prevalence but probably due to a shortage of diagnostic facilities. Unlike the wide spread of sequence type 398 (ST398) LA-MRSA in European countries and North America, ST9 predominates in most Asian countries. The prevalence of LA-MRSA among pigs in Asian countries varied widely (0.9-42.5%). The prevalence may vary by geographic location, age of pigs and sampling methodologies. Among pig farmers, the prevalence of nasal MRSA colonisation varied from 5.5% in Malaysia to 15% in China and 19.2% in Taiwan. Although most LA-MRSA isolates in Asia are of the same ST, molecular characteristics are not all the same. Dominant isolates in China were characterised as spa type t899-SCCmec III and t899-SCCmec IVb or V for isolates in Hong Kong, and t899-untypeable SCCmec for Taiwan. Dominant isolates in Malaysia were spa type t4358-SCCmec V and t337-SCCmec IX for isolates in Thailand. In addition, MRSA ST221 was reported in Japan and MRSA ST398 was isolated from commercial pigs in South Korea. Attention should be paid because pigs could become an important reservoir for MRSA and spread them to humans, as observed in many countries. There is a potential risk from the livestock reservoir to community and hospitals.
Keywords: Asia; Livestock-associated; MRSA; Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus; Pigs; Sequence type 9.
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