Livestock-associated MRSA in household members of pig farmers: transmission and dynamics of carriage, a prospective cohort study

PLoS One. 2015 May 18;10(5):e0127190. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0127190. eCollection 2015.


This prospective cohort study describes carriage of livestock-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (LA-MRSA) in household members from 49 farrowing pig farms in the Netherlands (2010-2011). Of 171 household members, 4% were persistent MRSA nasal carriers, and the MRSA prevalence on any given sampling moment was 10% (range 7-11%). Working in the stables (of which 98% was MRSA-positive, prevalence ratio (PR) = 2.11 per 10 hours), working with sows (PR=1.97), and living with an MRSA-positive pig farmer (PR=4.63) were significant determinants for MRSA carriage. Significant protective factors were carriage of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) (PR=0.50), and wearing a facemask when working in the stables (37% decreased prevalence). All MRSA strains during the study period were known livestock-associated types. The bacteriophage φ3 was not found in household members. Transmission from pigs and the environment appeared to be important determinants; human-to-human transmission could not sufficiently be differentiated. Wearing a facemask when working in the stables and carriage of MSSA are potential interventional targets.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier State / epidemiology*
  • Farmers
  • Humans
  • Livestock / microbiology
  • Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus / isolation & purification*
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Nose / microbiology
  • Oropharynx / microbiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Staphylococcal Infections / epidemiology
  • Staphylococcal Infections / prevention & control*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / transmission*
  • Staphylococcal Infections / veterinary
  • Swine / microbiology*

Grant support

This work was supported by grant number 125020009 from the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw: BvC received the funding. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.